Abstract

The influence of optical saturation on noise-immune cavity-enhanced optical heterodyne molecular spectrometry (NICE-OHMS) signals from purely Doppler-broadened transitions is investigated experimentally. It is shown that the shape and the strength of the dispersion signal are virtually unaffected by optical saturation, whereas the strength of the absorption signal decreases as (1+G±1)12, where G±1 is the degree of saturation induced by the sideband of the frequency-modulated triplet, in agreement with theoretical predictions. This implies, first of all, that Doppler-broadened NICE-OHMS is affected less by optical saturation than other cavity-enhanced techniques but also that it exhibits nonlinearities in the power and pressure dependence for all detection phases except pure dispersion. A methodology for assessments of the degree of saturation and the saturation power of a transition from Doppler-broadened NICE-OHMS signals is given. The implications of optical saturation for practical trace species detection by Doppler-broadened NICE-OHMS are discussed.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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