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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Glenn D. Boreman
  • Vol. 44, Iss. 33 — Nov. 20, 2005
  • pp: 7170–7172

Evaluation of quantum-cascade lasers as local oscillators for infrared heterodyne spectroscopy

Guido Sonnabend, Daniel Wirtz, and Rudolf Schieder  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 44, Issue 33, pp. 7170-7172 (2005)

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We report experiments evaluating the feasibility of quantum-cascade lasers (QCLs) at mid-infrared wavelengths for use as local oscillators (LOs) in a heterodyne receiver. Performance tests with continuous-wave (cw) lasers around 9.6 and 9.2 µm were carried out investigating optical output power, laser linewidth, and tunability. A direct comparison with a CO2 gas laser LO is presented as well. The achieved system sensitivity in a heterodyne spectrometer of only a factor of 2 above the quantum limit together with the measured linewidth of less than 1.5 MHz shows that QCLs are suitable laser sources for heterodyne spectroscopy with sufficient output power to replace gas lasers as LOs even in high-sensitivity astronomical heterodyne receivers. In addition, our experiments show that the tunability of the lasers can be greatly enhanced by use of an external cavity.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(120.6200) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Spectrometers and spectroscopic instrumentation
(140.3070) Lasers and laser optics : Infrared and far-infrared lasers
(140.3600) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, tunable
(280.0280) Remote sensing and sensors : Remote sensing and sensors
(300.6310) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, heterodyne

ToC Category:
Lasers and Laser Optics

Original Manuscript: April 18, 2005
Revised Manuscript: July 1, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: July 15, 2005
Published: November 20, 2005

Guido Sonnabend, Daniel Wirtz, and Rudolf Schieder, "Evaluation of quantum-cascade lasers as local oscillators for infrared heterodyne spectroscopy," Appl. Opt. 44, 7170-7172 (2005)

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