Abstract

In this paper, resolution limits of laser spectroscopy absorption measurements with hollow capillary fibers are investigated. Furthermore, a concept of sensitive near-infrared sensing utilizing hollow fiber directly coupled with vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers is developed. By performing wavelength modulation spectroscopy, the smallest absorbance that can be detected by the fiber sensor was determined to be 104, limited by a random modulation of the fiber transmission function (modal noise). By mechanically vibrating the fiber, a sensor resolution of 105 in absorbance is achieved. Because the random modulation on the fiber transmission function limits the detection sensitivity, its physical reasons are analyzed. One contribution is found to be the partial integration of the far field, and the amplitude of the spectral features is inversely proportional to the square root of the integrated speckle points number. Therefore, careful design of the fiber-detector outcoupling is necessary. It turned out that incoupling alignment is not of much influence with respect to the spectral background. The residual spectral background is caused by mode-dependent effects and can be lowered by vibrating the fiber mechanically.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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