We present ultra-sensitive measurements of molecular absorption using frequency-agile rapid scanning, cavity-ring down spectroscopy with an external-cavity diode laser. A microwave source that drives an electro-optic phase modulator with a bandwidth of 20 GHz generates pairs of sidebands on the probe laser. The optical cavity provides for high sensitivity and filters the carrier and all but a single, selected sideband. Absorption spectra were acquired by stepping the tunable sideband from mode-to-mode of the ring-down cavity at a rate that was limited only by the cavity decay time. This approach allows for scanning rates of 8 kHz per cavity resonance and a noise-equivalent absorption coefficient of 1.7×10-12 cm-1 Hz-1/2. By comparison to cavity-enhanced laser absorption spectrometers reported in the literature, the present system is, to the best of our knowledge, among the most sensitive and has by far the highest spectrum scanning rate.
Applied Physics B-Photophysics and Laser Chemistry
instrumentation, cavity ring-down spectroscopy, optical frequency comb, optical metrology