Electronic subtracter for trace-gas detection with InGaAsP diode lasers
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An electronic noise-cancellation scheme has been developed and tested for second-harmonic (2f) detection with short-external-cavity and distributed-feedback InGaAsP diode lasers and wavelength modulation. The 2f background signal and noise from, e.g., optical feedback, optical fringes, and power-supply pickup are effectively reduced by subtraction of a measure of the signal-beam photocurrent from a measure of the reference-beam photocurrent. The dynamic range required for the lock-in amplifier is also reduced because the signal owing to modulation of the laser output at the first harmonic is canceled. Reduction of the 2f background and dynamic range are important for atmospheric-pressure detection where a large wavelength modulation is necessary. The detector noise was minimized by the use of zero-biased detectors in the subtraction circuit. A beam-noise level (defined as 2× the rms value) equivalent to a line-center absorption of 1.6 × 10(-6) was achieved with an equivalent-noise bandwidth of 1.25 Hz for 2f detection at 10 kHz. The electronic circuit is easy to construct and low cost.
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