Application of balanced detection to absorption measurements of trace gases with room-temperature, quasi-cw quantum-cascade lasers

David M. Sonnenfroh, W. Terry Rawlins, Mark G. Allen, Claire F. Gmachl, Federico Capasso, Albert L. Hutchinson, Deborah L. Sivco, James N. Baillargeon, Alfred Y. Cho

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Abstract

Distributed-feedback quantum-cascade (QC) lasers are expected to form the heart of the next-generation mid-IR laser absorption spectrometers, especially as they are applied to measurements of trace gases in a variety of environments. The incorporation of room-temperature-operable, single-mode QC lasers should result in highly compact and rugged sensors for real-world applications. We report preliminary results on the performance of a laser absorption spectrometer that uses a QC laser operating at room temperature in a quasi-cw mode in conjunction with balanced ratiometric detection. We have demonstrated sensitivities for N2O [10 parts in 106 volume-mixing ratio for a 1-m path (ppmv-m)] and NO [520 parts in 109 volume-mixing ratio for a 1-m path (ppbv-m)] at 5.4 μm. System improvements are described that are expected to result in a 2 orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)812-820
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Optics
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 20 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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    Sonnenfroh, D. M., Rawlins, W. T., Allen, M. G., Gmachl, C. F., Capasso, F., Hutchinson, A. L., Sivco, D. L., Baillargeon, J. N., & Cho, A. Y. (2001). Application of balanced detection to absorption measurements of trace gases with room-temperature, quasi-cw quantum-cascade lasers. Applied Optics, 40(6), 812-820. https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.40.000812