Versatile, ultra-low sample volume gas analyzer using a rapid, broad-tuning ECQCL and a hollow fiber gas cell

Jason M. Kriesel, Camille N. Makarem, Mark C. Phillips, James J. Moran, Max L. Coleman, Lance E. Christensen, James F. Kelly

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

15 Scopus citations


We describe a versatile mid-infrared (Mid-IR) spectroscopy system developed to measure the concentration of a wide range of gases with an ultra-low sample size. The system combines a rapidly-swept external cavity quantum cascade laser (ECQCL) with a hollow fiber gas cell. The ECQCL has sufficient spectral resolution and reproducibility to measure gases with narrow features (e.g., water, methane, ammonia, etc.), and also the spectral tuning range needed to measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs), (e.g., aldehydes, ketones, hydrocarbons), sulfur compounds, chlorine compounds, etc. The hollow fiber is a capillary tube having an internal reflective coating optimized for transmitting the Mid-IR laser beam to a detector. Sample gas introduced into the fiber (e.g., internal volume = 0.6 ml) interacts strongly with the laser beam, and despite relatively modest path lengths (e.g., L ∼ 3 m), the requisite quantity of sample needed for sensitive measurements can be significantly less than what is required using conventional IR laser spectroscopy systems. Example measurements are presented including quantification of VOCs relevant for human breath analysis with a sensitivity of ∼2 picomoles at a 1 Hz data rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies X
EditorsLuisa T.M. Profeta, Richard A. Crocombe, Steven M. Barnett, Mark A. Druy
ISBN (Electronic)9781510609211
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies X - Anaheim, United States
Duration: Apr 10 2017Apr 11 2017

Publication series

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


ConferenceNext-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies X
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Gas analysis
  • Hollow fiber optic waveguide
  • Mid-Infrared (Mid-IR)
  • Quantum cascade laser (QCL)
  • Spectroscopy
  • Volatile organic compound (VOC)

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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