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Applied Optics

Applied Optics

APPLICATIONS-CENTERED RESEARCH IN 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)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.44.007170


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Abstract

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

Citation
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)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-44-33-7170

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