Abstract

An infrared absorption spectrometer has been constructed to measure the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric methane samples. The spectrometer employs periodically poled lithium niobate to generate 15  μW of tunable difference-frequency radiation from two near-infrared diode lasers that probe the ν3 rotational–vibrational band of methane at 3.4  μm. To enhance the signal, methane is extracted from 25 l of air by use of a cryogenic chromatographic column and is expanded into the multipass cell for analysis. A measurement precision of 12 is demonstrated for both δ13C and δD.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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