A new heterodyne interferometric method for optical signal detection in photoacoustic or photothermal spectroscopy is demonstrated and characterized. It relies on using one laser beam for the photoacoustic excitation of the gas sample that creates refractive index changes along the beam path, while another laser beam is used to measure these changes. A heterodyne-based detection of path-length changes is presented that does not require the interferometer to be balanced or stabilized, which significantly simplifies the optical design. We discuss advantages of this new approach to photoacoustic signal detection and the new sensing arrangements that it enables. An open-path photoacoustic spectroscopy of carbon dioxide at 2003 nm and a novel sensing configuration that enables three-dimensional spatial gas distribution measurement are experimentally demonstrated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics