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Sensors 2016, 16(4), 439; doi:10.3390/s16040439

Improved Tuning Fork for Terahertz Quartz-Enhanced Photoacoustic Spectroscopy

1
Dipartimento Interateneo di Fisica, Università degli studi di Bari Aldo Moro e Politecnico di Bari, Via Amendola 173, Bari I-70126, Italy
2
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005, USA
3
NEST, CNR-Istituto Nanoscienze and Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza San Silvestro 12, Pisa I-56127, Italy
4
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, J. J. Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Markus W. Sigrist
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infrared and THz Sensing and Imaging)
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Abstract

We report on a quartz-enhanced photoacoustic (QEPAS) sensor for methanol (CH3OH) detection employing a novel quartz tuning fork (QTF), specifically designed to enhance the QEPAS sensing performance in the terahertz (THz) spectral range. A discussion of the QTF properties in terms of resonance frequency, quality factor and acousto-electric transduction efficiency as a function of prong sizes and spacing between the QTF prongs is presented. The QTF was employed in a QEPAS sensor system using a 3.93 THz quantum cascade laser as the excitation source in resonance with a CH3OH rotational absorption line located at 131.054 cm−1. A minimum detection limit of 160 ppb in 30 s integration time, corresponding to a normalized noise equivalent absorption NNEA = 3.75 × 10−11 cm−1W/Hz½, was achieved, representing a nearly one-order-of-magnitude improvement with respect to previous reports. View Full-Text
Keywords: quartz enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy; quartz tuning fork; gas sensing; THz spectroscopy; quantum cascade laser quartz enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy; quartz tuning fork; gas sensing; THz spectroscopy; quantum cascade laser
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sampaolo, A.; Patimisco, P.; Giglio, M.; Vitiello, M.S.; Beere, H.E.; Ritchie, D.A.; Scamarcio, G.; Tittel, F.K.; Spagnolo, V. Improved Tuning Fork for Terahertz Quartz-Enhanced Photoacoustic Spectroscopy. Sensors 2016, 16, 439.

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