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Title: Gas-phase detection methods using diode lasers
Author: Baran, Stuart George
ISNI:       0000 0004 2681 1397
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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Diode lasers are a convenient and economical source of near-infrared radiation, which may usefully be applied to a host of different sensitive detection methods; this thesis presents novel extensions of these methods, making use of the favourable characteristics of this type of light source. The first part of this thesis details the development of an optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OF-CEAS) apparatus, including the development of the optical system, the sample handling, and the electronics for feedback phase control. A preliminary demonstration of the system is reported, presenting the detection of atmospheric water absorptions close to 1596 nm. Optimisation and application of the OF-CEAS spectrometer are then demonstrated, after which the spectrometer is applied to the sensitive detection of carbon dioxide absorptions suitable as a diagnostic aid in identifying Heliobacter pylori infection. A time-normalised α-min value of 5.8 × 10−9 cm−1s1/2 was measured for these spectra. Further optimisation of the system leads to an ultimate detection sensitivity of 1.42 × 10−9 cm−1s1/2, measured on absorption transitions in acetylene close to 1532 nm. In order further to characterise the performance of the OF-CEAS system, analogous experiments are presented using the OF-CEAS setup and a standard diode-laser cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) apparatus. Detection is carried out on the P(6) line of the ν1 + ν3 vibrational band of the mixed isotopologue of acetylene, 12-C13-CH2. Direct comparison is made between the sensitivities of the two methods, and in light of this the suitability of each technique for detection in different environments is considered. The well-characterised and consistent frequency scale which is inherent to the OF-CEAS technique is then applied to a line shape analysis for the presented absorption spectra. Pressure-broadening coefficients are determined for selected absorptions in the ν1 + ν3 band of acetylene. In spite of the low resolution associated with this technique, this accurate frequency scaling allows observation of subtle line shape effects such as Dicke collisional narrowing using the data presented in Chapter 3 for the R(60) line in the 3ν1 + ν3 vibrational band of CO2. These effects are quantified through use of a Galatry fit to each absorption spectrum. The statistical significance associated with the use of such a model, and the physical meaning of the results, are examined and discussed. An alternative strategy for increasing the sensitivity of a diode-laser-based gas monitoring technique lies in moving detection to the mid-infrared region, where the absorption cross-sections are generally larger. With this motivation, difference frequency generation is presented, to produce radiation close to 3.5 µm which is then applied to a series of different enhanced spectroscopy techniques. The optimal sensitivity, of 32 ppb NO2 at 45 Torr total sample pressure, was achieved using wavelength modulation spectroscopy. The different techniques are compared and possible improvements to them are put forward. Finally, proof-of-principle work is presented seeking to combine the enhanced circulating power associated with the optical-feedback-locked techniques and non-linear optical techniques to move detection to a more favourable spectral region. Light close to 429 nm is generated by second harmonic generation in a crystal of potassium niobate, with resonance-enhancement afforded by a feedback V-cavity of the sort employed in OF-CEAS. The potential of such a system for diode-laser-based generation of blue and ultraviolet light is demonstrated and discussed, along with improvements that might be implemented to increase the efficiency of the system.
Supervisor: Hancock, Gus Sponsor: RSC Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chemistry & allied sciences ; Biosensors ; Laser Spectroscopy ; Spectroscopy and molecular structure ; Physics ; laser chemistry ; spectroscopy ; diode lasers ; difference frequency generation ; optical cavities ; cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy ; optical feedback ; optical feedback cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy ; acetylene ; nitrogen dioxide ; frequency doubling ; second harmonic generation ; non-linear optics