Abstract

A mid-infrared spectrometer with a tuning range of >400cm1 in the C–H stretching region of the spectrum has been designed and constructed. The spectrometer is based on the difference-frequency generation of two tunable diode lasers in periodically poled lithium niobate waveguides. Tuning is achieved by varying a single parameter, the wavelength of one of the near-infrared input lasers. The instrument can be tuned over the entire tuning range in less than 1 s. By taking advantage of the wide tuning range, the instrument has been used to analyze a mixture of methane, ethylene, and propylene. Each of these major components was measured with an accuracy of better than 2% (where the error is defined as a percentage of the measured value) in a single 30 s long scan. When optimized, the spectrometer has the potential to meet both the performance requirements and the practical requirements for real-time process control in petrochemical manufacturing. The general principles for the design of mid-infrared spectrometers with wide tuning ranges are explained, including the use of variable waveguide fabrication recipes to create broad phase-matching resonances (which lead to broad tuning) in the desired location.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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