From Event: SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging, 2017
Majority of chemical species of interest in security and safety applications (e.g. explosives) have complex molecular structures that produce unresolved rotational-vibrational spectroscopic signatures in the mid-infrared. This requires spectroscopic techniques that can provide broadband coverage in the mid-IR region to target broadband absorbers and high resolution to address small molecules that exhibit well-resolved spectral lines. On the other hand, many broadband mid-IR absorbers exhibit well-resolved rotational components in the THz spectral region. Thus, development of spectroscopic sensing technologies that can address both spectral regions is of great importance. Here we demonstrate recent progress towards broadband high-resolution spectroscopic sensing applications with Fabry-Perot quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) and frequency combs using multi-heterodyne spectroscopy (MHS) techniques.
In this paper, we will present spectroscopic sensing of large and small molecules in the mid-IR region using QCLs operating at ~8.5µm. An example high-resolution, broadband MHS of ammonia (small molecule) and isobutane (broadband absorber) at atmospheric pressure in the 1165-1190 cm^-1 range will be discussed. We have developed a balanced MHS system for mitigation of the laser intensity fluctuations. Absorption spectroscopy as well as dispersion spectroscopy with minimum fractional absorption down to ~10^-4/Hz1/2 and fast spectral acquisition capabilities down to 10 µs/spectrum range will be demonstrated. In order to mitigate the shortcomings of the limited chemical selectivity in the mid-IR, THz QCL based spectrometer is currently under development to provide spectral de-congestion and thus significantly improve chemical identification. Preliminary characterization of the performance of THZ QCL combs for the THz QCL-MHS will be presented.
Jonas Westberg, Lukasz A. Sterczewski, Link Patrick, and Gerard Wysocki, "Broadband mid-infrared and THz chemical detection with quantum cascade laser multi-heterodyne spectrometers (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10210, Next-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies X, 1021002 (Presented at SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging: April 10, 2017; Published: 9 June 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262566.5460418226001.
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