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Accuracy limits for simple molecular absorption based wavelength references



William C. Swann, Sarah L. Gilbert


We present limitations on the characterization and use of molecular absorption lines for wavelength calibration purposes. These limits assume a Doppler and pressure-broadened absorption spectrum obtained by transmitting light through a simple gas cell. Attempting to define the line centers to ever-higher accuracy reveals limits associated with effects of cell pressure uncertainty, weak features in the spectrum, increasing complexity in the line profile model, and accuracy limits of wavelength meters.
Proceedings Title
Tech. Dig., Symp. on Optical Fiber Meas.
Conference Dates
September 28-30, 2004
Conference Location
Boulder, CO, USA


molecular absorption, optical communication, optical sensors, wavelength accuracy, wavelength calibration, wavelength references


Swann, W. and Gilbert, S. (2004), Accuracy limits for simple molecular absorption based wavelength references, Tech. Dig., Symp. on Optical Fiber Meas., Boulder, CO, USA, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created August 31, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021