Abstract

Near-visible absorption lines of ambient H2O vapor and normal and heavy isotopes of O2 have been measured over atmospheric paths of up to 0.46 km by using two wavelength-modulated, line-locked AlGaAs laser sources with a retroreflector–telescope system. The absolute signal levels agree with theoretical calculations for the O2 isotopes to within 2%, which is similar to the accuracy with which the column densities were known. Measurements of 16O2 linewidths and line strengths were made, and they agree with literature values to within experimental error. The detection sensitivity for 16O18O was found to be 0.1 part in 106 atm. km, corresponding to an absorbance sensitivity of 1 × 10−5. It is concluded that atmospheric trace-gas sensing will be feasible with this apparatus over distances of several kilometers and at levels under 1 part in 106.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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