Abstract

We have developed and demonstrated a high-sensitivity trace gas instrument employing two mid- infrared quantum cascade lasers and an astigmatic Herriott sample cell with up to a 240m path length. Several aspects of astigmatic Herriott cell optics have been addressed to enable operation at a high pass number (up to 554), including aberrations and pattern selection to minimize interference fringes. The new instrument design, based on the 200m cell, can measure various atmospheric trace gases, depending on the installed lasers, with multiple trace gases measured simultaneously. Demonstrated concentration noise levels (1s average) are 40parts per trillion [(ppt) 1012] for formaldehyde, 10ppt for carbonyl sulfide, 110ppt for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and 180ppt for nitrous acid (HONO). High-precision measurements of nitrous oxide and methane have been recorded at the same time as high-sensitivity measurements of HONO and H2O2.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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