High sensitivity detection of O2 in the near infrared with short external cavity (SXC) AlGaAs semiconductor diode lasers is reported. The mode control provided by the SXC enhances the performance of these diode lasers by allowing a number of single laser modes (up to ten) to be individually selected and continuously scanned over extended frequency intervals. At a constant laser heat sink temperature, this provides nearly complete spectral coverage of up to ≈40 cm−1 for overlapping modes. When using second harmonic detection techniques, these SXC controlled lasers were found to provide high sensitivity detection of O2 at atmospheric pressure. A minimum detectable absorbance of ≈4 × 10−6 has been achieved with a SNR of 1. The stability of these laser systems has also allowed the continuous monitoring of an absorption signal over extended time intervals. Absorbances of 1 × 10−2 have been continuously monitored for durations of up to 15 h with an rms uncertainty of ±6 × 10−5. These results are reproducible for measurements made on all the laser modes that could be selected with the SXC.
© 1990 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article