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29 April 2016 Application of supercontinuum radiation for mid-infrared spectroscopy
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The emergence of new laser-based mid-infrared (MIR) sources, such as quantum cascade lasers (QCL), led to substantial developments in the field of MIR spectroscopy in the last decade. Recently, also MIR supercontinuum (SC) sources became available. They combine broadband spectral emission known from thermal sources emission with coherent properties known from laser sources like QCLs. Nevertheless, while the latter already find practical application in the field of optical sensing, SC sources have yet to prove their applicability. In this contribution we present the development, characterization and application of a measurement concept consisting of a fiber-coupled broadband MIR SC source (1.75 μm-4.2 μm, 75 mW optical power) and a fully-integrated MOEMS-based Fabry-Pérot microspectrometer (FPMS) for MIR spectroscopy. The main hindrance for the use of SC sources in spectroscopy so far, are the significant pulse-to-pulse fluctuations arising from the non-linear nature of the SC generation process. We show to what extent spectral averaging makes sense and evaluate the noise performance. By combining a SC source and a FPMS it was possible to significantly reduce noise in spectral, time and polarization domain, resulting in a set-up suitable for MIR spectroscopy. The performance of the set-up was characterized both in transmission and reflection geometry. Low-noise absorption spectra of oils, polymers and aqueous solutions of acetic acid were acquired . Furthermore, time-resolved measurements of the curing process of ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate and results of the chemical mapping of a painted metal surface are reported. The obtained results prove the concept of SC-FPMS promising for MIR spectroscopy, characterized by its simplicity and versatility.
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Jakob Kilgus, Petra Müller, Peter M. Moselund, and Markus Brandstetter "Application of supercontinuum radiation for mid-infrared spectroscopy", Proc. SPIE 9899, Optical Sensing and Detection IV, 98990K (29 April 2016);

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