Diode-laser-based sensor for ultraviolet absorption measurements of atomic mercury
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A new sensor has been developed for measuring atomic mercury using absorption spectroscopy with 254-nm radiation generated from two sum-frequency-mixed diode lasers. Beams from a 375-nm external-cavity diode laser and a 784-nm distributed feedback diode laser are mixed in a beta-barium-borate crystal to generate approximately 4 nW of ultraviolet radiation. The development of the sensor is described along with extensive characterization experiments in a mercury vapor cell in the laboratory. An accuracy of ±6% in the absolute concentration of atomic mercury has been demonstrated by comparison with equilibrium vapor pressure calculations. The detection limit is approximately 0.1 parts per billion of atomic mercury in a meter path length for 300-K gas and a 10-s integration time. The insensitivity of the sensor to broadband attenuation is demonstrated. Measurements of collision-broadening coefficients for air, N2, Ar, and CO2 are reported, and implementation of wavelength-modulation spectroscopy with the sensor is demonstrated. Finally, results are presented from measurements with the sensor in situ in the exhaust stream of an actual coal-fired combustor.
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