A sensor based on rotational signatures in the submillimeter (SMM) region is described. This sensor uses frequency synthesis techniques in the region around , with nonlinear diode frequency multiplication to . This provides not only a nearly ideal instrument function, but also frequency control and agility that significantly enhance the performance of the spectrometer as a sensor. The SMM frequencies provide significantly stronger absorptions and broader spectroscopic coverage than lower-frequency microwave systems. Among the characteristics of the sensor are absolute specificity, low atmospheric clutter, good sensitivity, and near-term paths to systems that are both compact and very inexpensive.
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