, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 567-572

Precise measurement of methane in air using diode-pumped 3.4-μm difference-frequency generation in PPLN

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volume multi-pass absorption cell with an 18-m path length. The methane mixing ratio was determined by comparing the direct optical absorption measured in the sample with that measured in a reference gas at 100 torr and room temperature. Relative accuracy of better than 1 ppb (parts in 109, by mole fraction) was achieved in measurements of natural air that contained 1700–1900 ppb methane. The typical measurement time for each sample was 60 seconds. The accuracy was limited by residual interference fringes in the multi-pass cell that resulted from scattering. Without the use of reference samples, the relative accuracy was 20 ppb; it was limited by the long-term reproducibility of the spectroscopic baseline, which was affected by drift in the optical alignment coupled to changes in the ambient temperature. This work demonstrates the use of diode-pumped difference-frequency generation (DFG) in PPLN in a high-precision infrared spectrometer. Compact, room-temperature solid-state gas sensors can be built based on this technology, for accurate real-time measurements of trace gases in the 3–5 μm spectroscopic region.

Received: 2 October 1996