Abstract

We report a fully automated mid-IR difference-frequency spectrometer with a spectral resolution under 70 MHz pumped by a pair of conventional room-temperature 800–900-nm diode lasers. 0.1 µW of tunable cw radiation is produced from incident-diode powers of 120 and 75 mW. The system has computer-controlled beam alignment with compact CCD cameras, motorized mirrors and positioners to obtain 0.01° crystal-angle positioning, 4-µm beam overlap at the nonlinear crystal, and automated diode laser beam collimation. Computer-operated frequency control uses temperature tuning and current tuning of the free-running diode lasers. The system has been demonstrated by successfully scanning, without any human intervention, 64 randomly selected acetylene absorption lines between 12 and 15 µm. Spectral scans of ammonia are also presented. This mid-IR spectrometer is suitable for fully automated spectroscopy of an unlimited list of mid-IR frequencies and has the potential to detect any trace gas that has an acceptable absorption line within the large tuning range.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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