The mid-infrared (MIR) part of the optical spectrum (3-12 μm) houses the fundamental absorption bands of a multitude of environmentally important molecules, but the abundance of water absorption often causes interference with the target species and makes concentration measurement inaccurate. The broad spectral coverage of optical frequency comb spectroscopy (OFCS) provides access to entire ro-vibrational bands and allows more accurate concentration quantification and retrieval of sample temperature. To further improve detection sensitivity of paramagnetic species in the presence of interfering species, we combine a MIR optical frequency comb with the Faraday rotation spectroscopy (FRS) technique [1], which is insensitive to interferences from diamagnetic molecules, such as H2O, CO2, and CO. In FRS, the rotation of the polarization induced by an external magnetic field in the vicinity of paramagnetic molecular transitions is translated to an intensity change by the use of a polarization analyzer, which effectively removes the influence of any non-paramagnetic species. In the proof of principle demonstration of OFC-FRS we detect nitric oxide (NO) in the presence of water at 5.3 μm using a Fourier transform spectrometer.

© 2017 IEEE

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