A quantum cascade laser-based optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectrometer for the simultaneous measurement of CH4 and N2O in air

D. J. Hamilton, A. J. Orr-Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OF CEAS) has been demonstrated with a thermoelectrically cooled continuous wave distributed feedback quantum cascade laser (QCL) operating at wavelengths around 7.84 mu m. The QCL is coupled to an optical cavity which creates an absorption pathlength greater than 1000 m. The experimental design allows optical feedback of infra-red light, resonant within the cavity, to the QCL, which initiates self-locking at each TEM00 cavity mode frequency excited. The QCL linewidth is narrowed to below the mode linewidth, greatly increasing the efficiency of injection of light into the cavity. At the frequency of each longitudinal cavity mode, the absorption coefficient of an intracavity sample is obtained from the transmission at the mode maximum, measured with a thermoelectrically cooled detector: spectral line profiles of CH4 and N2O in ambient air were recorded simultaneously and with a resolution of 0.01386 cm(-1). A minimum detectable absorption coefficient of 5.5x10(-8) cm(-1) was demonstrated after an averaging time of 1 s for this completely thermoelectrically cooled system. The bandwidth-normalised limit for a single cavity mode is 5.6x10(-9) cm(-1) Hz(-1/2) (1 sigma).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-890
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Physics B
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

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