A millimeter/submillimeter spectrometer for high resolution studies of transient molecules

L. M. Ziurys, W. L. Barclay, M. A. Anderson, D. A. Fletcher, J. W. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


A design is presented for a millimeter/submillimeter direct absorption spectrometer for studies of the pure rotational spectra of metal-bearing free radicals. The spectrometer operates in the frequency range of 65-550 GHz with an instrumental resolution of 200-1000 kHz and an absorption sensitivity of a few ppm. The instrument utilizes phase-locked Gunn oscillators as the tunable, coherent source of radiation from 65-140 GHz. Higher source frequencies are obtained with Schottky diode multipliers. The gas cell and optics path are designed utilizing Gaussian beam optics to achieve maximum interaction between molecules and the mm-wave radiation in the reaction region. Scalar feedhorns and a series of PTFE lenses are used to propagate the source signal. The gas cell is a cylindrical tube 0.5 m in length with a detachable Broida-type oven. The detector for the spectrometer is a helium-cooled InSb hot electron bolometer. Phase-sensitive detection is achieved by FM modulation of the Gunn oscillators and use of a lock-in amplifier. Spectra are recorded by electrical tuning of the Gunn oscillator, which is done under computer control. The millimeter and sub-mm rotational spectra of several free radicals have been observed for the first time using this instrument, including CaOH, MgOH, CaH, MgF, and BaOH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1517-1522
Number of pages6
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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