Abstract

Design and operation of a compact, portable, room-temperature mid-infrared gas sensor is reported. The sensor is based on continuous-wave difference-frequency generation (DFG) in bulk periodically poled lithium niobate at 4.6 µm, pumped by a solitary GaAlAs diode laser at 865 nm and a diode-pumped monolithic ring Nd:YAG laser at 1064.5 nm. The instrument was used for detection of CO in air at atmospheric pressure with 1 ppb precision (parts in 109, by mole fraction) and 0.6% accuracy for a signal averaging time of 10 s. It employed a compact multipass absorption cell with a 18-m path length and a thermoelectrically cooled HgCdTe detector. Precision was limited by residual interference fringes arising from scattering in the multipass cell. This is the first demonstration of a portable high-precision gas sensor based on diode-pumped DFG at room temperature. The use of an external-cavity diode laser can provide a tuning range of 700 cm-1 and allow the detection of several trace gases, including N2O, CO2, SO2, H2CO, and CH4.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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