Abstract

High-sensitivity real-time remote detection of methane in air with a 1.66-μm distributed-feedback diode laser operating at room temperature is demonstrated by laboratory simulations. The laser current was modulated at a high frequency of ~5 MHz, and the laser-center frequency was locked onto a methane-absorption line. The laser light directed toward the probed region was received after one-way transmission or further reflection from a topographic target. The methane absorption was detected by the second-harmonic component in the optical-power variation. The minimum-detectable concentration–path-length product in the transmission scheme was 0.3 part in 106 m for a signal averaging time of 1.3 s. In the reflection scheme, the amount of methane could be measured from the ratio of the fundamental and second-harmonic signal intensities independently of the received power.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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