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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 40, Iss. 6 — Feb. 20, 2001
  • pp: 812–820

Application of balanced detection to absorption measurements of trace gases with room-temperature, quasi-cw quantum-cascade lasers

David M. Sonnenfroh, W. Terry Rawlins, Mark G. Allen, Claire Gmachl, Federico Capasso, Albert L. Hutchinson, Deborah L. Sivco, James N. Baillargeon, and Alfred Y. Cho  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 40, Issue 6, pp. 812-820 (2001)

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Distributed-feedback quantum-cascade (QC) lasers are expected to form the heart of the next-generation mid-IR laser absorption spectrometers, especially as they are applied to measurements of trace gases in a variety of environments. The incorporation of room-temperature-operable, single-mode QC lasers should result in highly compact and rugged sensors for real-world applications. We report preliminary results on the performance of a laser absorption spectrometer that uses a QC laser operating at room temperature in a quasi-cw mode in conjunction with balanced ratiometric detection. We have demonstrated sensitivities for N2O [10 parts in 106 volume-mixing ratio for a 1-m path (ppmv-m)] and NO [520 parts in 109 volume-mixing ratio for a 1-m path (ppbv-m)] at 5.4 µm. System improvements are described that are expected to result in a 2 orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1120) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Air pollution monitoring
(120.1740) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Combustion diagnostics
(140.3070) Lasers and laser optics : Infrared and far-infrared lasers
(140.5960) Lasers and laser optics : Semiconductor lasers
(300.1030) Spectroscopy : Absorption
(300.6260) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, diode lasers

Original Manuscript: May 23, 2000
Revised Manuscript: October 24, 2000
Published: February 20, 2001

David M. Sonnenfroh, W. Terry Rawlins, Mark G. Allen, Claire Gmachl, Federico Capasso, Albert L. Hutchinson, Deborah L. Sivco, James N. Baillargeon, and Alfred Y. Cho, "Application of balanced detection to absorption measurements of trace gases with room-temperature, quasi-cw quantum-cascade lasers," Appl. Opt. 40, 812-820 (2001)

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