Abstract

High detection selectivity is extremely important for gas analyzers in order to correctly identify the measured compound. Therefore, laser-based systems require a high optical resolution, which primarily depends on the spectral linewidth of the radiation source. This study examines the effective linewidth (chirp) of a pulsed distributed feedback (DFB) quantum cascade laser (QCL) in a photoacoustic (PA) gas detection system. The influence of the QCL operating parameters pulse duration and pulse current as well as the impact of the modulation technique are investigated. Effective QCL linewidths for pulse gate modulation, pulse frequency modulation, and chopper modulation are compared. The investigations are performed by measuring the PA spectra of nitrogen monoxide absorption lines. The results prove the strong influence of pulse duration and pulse current. They also demonstrate that the modulation technique has a considerable influence and, consequently, affects the detection selectivity of the PA analyzer. The aim of this research is to determine optimum operational parameters for high resolution PA spectroscopy.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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