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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 48, Iss. 18 — Jun. 20, 2009
  • pp: 3481–3489

Minimum refractometrically detectable concentrations of single atmospheric gases and simple mixtures with a Sagnac interferometer

Sean McConnell and Esa Jaatinen  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 48, Issue 18, pp. 3481-3489 (2009)

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The minimum quantities of the nine most abundant, isolated, atmospheric gases that are detectable with a refractometer are calculated. An examination of the applicability of refractometric techniques for detecting and analyzing gaseous mixtures is discussed and a comparison made against other established techniques. Traditionally, most gas analysis performed with an interferometer is in determining the dispersion or refractivity of a known sample, presented here is the inverse approach, where refractivities are measured to determine the concentrations of particular species within a gas. The method, and experimental results for determining the minimum quantities of a particular species detectable in a mixture has been explored, as well as the complications, such as the indistinguishability of dynamic polarizabilities of different gases and the subsequent demands for accurate pressure and fringe measurements of using interferometric techniques. It is shown that the concentration of a single (isolated) gas, in units of number density, can be determined to within approximately 1 10 × 10 18 m 3 , and a mixture of the three most abundant gases, N 2 , O 2 and Ar, to within 3.4 × 10 4 parts in 10 6 ( ppm ) when a minimum detectable fringe shift of λ / 100 is assumed.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1290) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric optics
(120.3180) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Interferometry

ToC Category:
Atmospheric and Oceanic Optics

Original Manuscript: January 14, 2009
Revised Manuscript: May 8, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: May 12, 2009
Published: June 12, 2009

Sean McConnell and Esa Jaatinen, "Minimum refractometrically detectable concentrations of single atmospheric gases and simple mixtures with a Sagnac interferometer," Appl. Opt. 48, 3481-3489 (2009)

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