Mid-infrared multiheterodyne spectroscopy with phase-locked quantum cascade lasers

J. Westberg, L. A. Sterczewski, Gerard Wysocki

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47 Scopus citations


Fabry-Pérot (FP) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) provide purely electronically controlled monolithic sources for broadband mid-infrared (mid-IR) multiheterodyne spectroscopy (MHS), which benefits from the large gain bandwidth of the QCLs without sacrificing the narrowband properties commonly associated with the single mode distributed feedback variant. We demonstrate a FP-QCL based multiheterodyne spectrometer with a short-term noise-equivalent absorption of ∼3 × 10−4/ H z, a mid-IR spectral coverage of 25 cm−1, and very short acquisition time (10 μs) capability. The broadband potential is demonstrated by measuring the absorption spectra of ammonia and isobutane under atmospheric pressure conditions. The stability of the system is enhanced by a two-stage active frequency inter-locking procedure, where the two QCLs are pre-locked with a slow feedback loop based on an analog frequency discriminator, followed by a high bandwidth optical phase-locked loop. The locking system provides a relative frequency stability in the sub kHz range over seconds of integration time. The strength of the technique lies in the ability to acquire spectral information from all optical modes simultaneously and individually, which bodes for a versatile and cost effective spectrometer for mid-IR chemical gas sensing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141108
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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