Abstract

The technique of pulsed indirect photoacoustic spectroscopy is applied to the examination of free liquid surfaces, and the prospects are assessed for remote detection and identification of chemical species in a field environment. A CO2 laser (tunable within the 9–11-µm region) provides pulsed excitation for a variety of sample types; the resulting photoacoustic pulses are detected at ranges of the order of a few centimeters. The phenomenon is investigated as a function of parameters such as temperature, sample depth, laser-pulse energy, pulse length, and beam diameter. The results are in good agreement with a theoretical model that assumes the mechanism to be expansion of air resulting from heat conduction from the laser-heated surface of the sample under investigation. Signal and noise processing issues are discussed briefly, and the possible extension of the technique to ranges of the order of 10 m is assessed.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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