Applied Physics B

, 92:467 | Cite as

Design considerations in high-sensitivity off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy

  • E.J. Moyer
  • D.S. Sayres
  • G.S. Engel
  • J.M. St. Clair
  • F.N. Keutsch
  • N.T. Allen
  • J.H. Kroll
  • J.G. Anderson


Off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy (OA-ICOS) has generated much interest because it potentially allows highly sensitive field measurements with robust optical alignment. We discuss here design choices involved in design of an OA-ICOS instrument and how these choices impact instrument sensitivity, using as our example the design of the Harvard ICOS isotope instrument, which demonstrates the highest reported sensitivity for mid-IR OA-ICOS (2.4×10-11 cm-1Hz-1/2 at 6.7 μm, obtained during measurements of water vapor isotopologues H2O, HDO, and H218O in the laboratory and onboard NASA’s WB-57 high-altitude research aircraft). We compare the sensitivity of several OA-ICOS instruments with differing design parameters, show how comparisons are hindered by differing definitions of instrument performance metrics, and suggest a common metric of MDAmeas, the fractional absorption equivalent to 1σ uncertainty in an actual measurement, normalized to 1 s integration. We also note that despite an emphasis on sensitivity in the literature, in the Harvard ICOS isotope instrument and likely also similar instruments, systematic errors associated with fitting of the baseline laser power are of equal importance to total measurement uncertainty.


Optical Cavity Quantum Cascade Laser Electronic Noise Minimum Detectable Absorption Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • E.J. Moyer
    • 1
  • D.S. Sayres
    • 2
  • G.S. Engel
    • 3
  • J.M. St. Clair
    • 4
  • F.N. Keutsch
    • 5
  • N.T. Allen
    • 2
  • J.H. Kroll
    • 6
  • J.G. Anderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of the Geophysical SciencesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Dept. of ChemistryUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Dept. of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  5. 5.Dept. of ChemistryUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  6. 6.Aerodyne ResearchBillericaUSA

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