, Volume 85, Issue 2-3, pp 307-313
Date: 08 Aug 2006

Gas-phase photoacoustic sensor at 8.41 μm using quartz tuning forks and amplitude-modulated quantum cascade lasers

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We demonstrate the performance of a novel infrared photoacoustic laser absorbance sensor for gas-phase species using an amplitude-modulated quantum cascade (QC) laser and a quartz tuning fork microphone. The photoacoustic signal was generated by focusing 5.3 mW of a Fabry–Pérot QC laser operating at 8.41 μm between the tines of a quartz tuning fork which served as a transducer for the transient acoustic pressure wave. The sensitivity of this sensor was calibrated using the infrared absorber Freon 134a by performing a simultaneous absorption measurement using a 31-cm absorption cell. The power and bandwidth normalized noise equivalent absorption sensitivity (NEAS) of this sensor was determined to be D=2.0×10-8 W cm-1/Hz1/2. A corresponding theoretical analysis of the instrument sensitivity is presented and is capable of quantitatively reproducing the experimental NEAS, indicating that the fundamental sensitivity of this technique is limited by the noise floor of the tuning fork itself.


43.60.Vx; 43.58.Wc; 43.58.Hp; 84.40.Xb