Noise-immune cavity-enhanced optical heterodyne molecular spectroscopy (NICE-OHMS) based on a fiber-coupled electro-optic modulator (EOM) provides a compact and versatile experimental setup. It has, however, been limited by background signals originating from an imbalance of the phase modulated triplet created by a cross-coupling between the principal axes of the polarization maintaining fibers and the extraordinary axis of the EOM. Two strategies for reducing these background signals are investigated: (i) using an EOM with a titanium diffused waveguide, in which the balance of the triplet is controlled by active feedback, and (ii) using an EOM with a proton exchanged waveguide that does not support light propagation along the ordinary axis. It is shown that both approaches significantly reduce drifts and noise in the system. Using a cavity with a finesse of 5700, an absorption sensitivity of 3.2×10−12 cm−1 in 1 min of integration time (i.e., 1.8×10−11 cm−1 Hz−1/2) is demonstrated for Doppler-broadened detection, the lowest reported so far for Doppler-broadened NICE-OHMS. For sub-Doppler detection, a minimum detectable optical phase shift of 1.3×10−12 cm−1 in 400 s of integration time is obtained.
© 2011 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article