Abstract

We present a simplified cavity ringdown (CRD) trace gas detection technique that is insensitive to vibration, and capable of extremely sensitive, real-time absorption measurements. A high-power, multimode Fabry–Perot (FP) diode laser with a broad wavelength range (Δλlaser0.6  nm) is used to excite a large number of cavity modes, thereby reducing the detector’s susceptibility to vibration and making it well suited for field deployment. When detecting molecular species with broad absorption features (ΔλabsorptionΔλlaser), the laser’s broad linewidth removes the need for precision wavelength stabilization. The laser’s power and broad linewidth allow the use of on-axis cavity alignment, improving the signal-to-noise ratio while maintaining its vibration insensitivity. The use of an FP diode laser has the added advantages of being inexpensive, compact, and insensitive to vibration. The technique was demonstrated using a 1.1 W (λ=400  nm) diode laser to measure low concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in zero air. A sensitivity of 38 parts in 1012 (ppt) was achieved using an integration time of 128 ms; for single-shot detection, 530 ppt sensitivity was demonstrated with a measurement time of 60 μs, which opens the door to sensitive measurements with extremely high temporal resolution; to the best of our knowledge, these are the highest speed measurements of NO2 concentration using CRD spectroscopy. The reduced susceptibility to vibration was demonstrated by introducing small vibrations into the apparatus and observing that there was no measurable effect on the sensitivity of detection.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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