Trace-gas sensing using the compliance voltage of an external cavity quantum cascade laser

Mark C. Phillips, Matthew S. Taubman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


We present experimental demonstration of a new chemical sensing technique based on intracavity absorption in an external cavity quantum cascade laser (ECQCL). This new technique eliminates the need for an infrared photodetector and gas cell by detecting the intracavity absorption spectrum in the compliance voltage of the laser device itself. To demonstrate and characterize the technique, we measure infrared absorption spectra of chemicals including acetone and Freon-134a. Sub-ppm detection limits in one second are achieved, with the potential for increased sensitivity after further optimization. The technique enables development of handheld, high-sensitivity, and high-accuracy trace gas sensors for in-field use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies VI
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies VI - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Apr 29 2013Apr 30 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies VI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD


  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Quantum cascade laser
  • Trace-gas sensing
  • Tunable laser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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