Rapid scan (Doppler-limited) absorption spectroscopy using mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers

Steven W. Sharpe, James F. Kelly, Richard M. Williams, John S. Hartman, Claire Gmachl, Federico Capasso, Deborah L. Sivco, James N. Baillargeon, Alfred Y. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Laser characteristics have been evaluated for mid-infrared quantum-cascade (QC) lasers operating in a continuous mode at cryogenic temperatures. These tests were performed to determine the suitability of QC lasers for use in various spectroscopic applications, including Doppler-limited molecular absorption spectroscopy and pressure-limited LIDAR instrumentation. Using rapid-scanning techniques, direct absorbance measurements of nitric oxide (NO), ammonia (NH3) and nitrous oxide (N2O) have been performed with QC lasers, operating at either 5.2 or 8.5 μm. Measured Doppler-limited absorption profiles show no distortion with increased averaging (up to 103-104 samples averaged), thereby minimizing the need for sophisticated data acquisition systems which re-register successive data streams to accommodate for laser frequency jitter and drift. Additionally, the high tuning rates (2.5 cm-1 in 0.6 milliseconds; 5-10 kHz sweep repetition rate) achieved with the QC lasers allow for the measure of relatively rapid transient phenomena or a high degree of signal averaging in a short time. Noise-equivalent absorbances of 3 × 10-6 have also been obtained without optimizing the optical arrangement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1999 Application of Tunable Diode and Other Infrared Sources for Atmospheric Studies and Industrial Processing Monitoring II - Denver, CO, USA
Duration: Jul 19 1999Jul 20 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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