, Volume 80, Issue 8, pp 1027-1038
Date: 31 May 2005

Fast, low-noise, mode-by-mode, cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy by diode-laser self-locking

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Abstract

A new technique of cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy is described. Molecular absorption spectra are obtained by recording the transmission maxima of the successive TEMoo resonances of a high-finesse optical cavity when a Distributed Feedback Diode Laser is tuned across them. A noisy cavity output is usually observed in such a measurement since the resonances are spectrally narrower than the laser. We show that a folded (V-shaped) cavity can be used to obtain selective optical feedback from the intracavity field which builds up at resonance. This induces laser linewidth reduction and frequency locking. The linewidth narrowing eliminates the noisy cavity output, and allows measuring the maximum mode transmissions accurately. The frequency locking permits the laser to scan stepwise through the successive cavity modes. Frequency tuning is thus tightly optimized for cavity mode injection. Our setup for this technique of Optical-Feedback Cavity-Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy (OF-CEAS) includes a 50 cm folded cavity with finesse ∼20 000 (ringdown time ∼20 μs) and allows recording spectra of up to 200 cavity modes (2 cm−1) using 100 ms laser scans. We obtain a noise equivalent absorption coefficient of ∼5×10−10 cm−1 for 1 s averaging over scans, with a dynamic range of four orders of magnitude.