Noise-immune cavity-enhanced optical heterodyne molecular spectroscopy: Current status and future potential
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- Foltynowicz, A., Schmidt, F., Ma, W. et al. Appl. Phys. B (2008) 92: 313. doi:10.1007/s00340-008-3126-z
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As a result of a combination of an external cavity and modulation techniques, noise-immune cavity-enhanced optical heterodyne molecular spectroscopy (NICE-OHMS) is one of the most sensitive absorption techniques, capable of reaching close-to-shot-noise sensitivities, down to 5×10-13 fractional absorption at 1 s averaging. Due to its ability to provide sub-Doppler signals from weak molecular overtone transitions, the technique was first developed for frequency standard applications. It has since then also found use in fields of molecular spectroscopy of weak overtone transitions and trace gas detection. This paper describes the principles and the unique properties of NICE-OHMS. The historical background, the contributions of various groups, as well as the performance and present status of the technique are reviewed. Recent progress is highlighted and the future potential of the technique for trace species detection is discussed.