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Open AccessArticle

Dual-Section DFB-QCLs for Multi-Species Trace Gas Analysis

Institute for Quantum Electronics, ETH Zürich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
Laboratory for Air Pollution and Environmental Technology, Empa, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
Institute for Aerosol and Sensor Technology, FHNW, 5210 Windisch, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Photonics 2016, 3(2), 24;
Received: 31 March 2016 / Revised: 27 April 2016 / Accepted: 28 April 2016 / Published: 30 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantum Cascade Lasers - Advances and New Applications)
PDF [4790 KB, uploaded 30 April 2016]


We report on the dynamic behavior of dual-wavelength distributed feedback (DFB) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) in continuous wave and intermittent continuous wave operation. We investigate inherent etaloning effects based on spectrally resolved light-current-voltage (LIV) characterization and perform time-resolved spectral analysis of thermal chirping during long (>5 µs) current pulses. The theoretical aspects of the observed behavior are discussed using a combination of finite element method simulations and transfer matrix method calculations of dual-section DFB structures. Based on these results, we demonstrate how the internal etaloning can be minimized using anti-reflective (AR) coatings. Finally, the potential and benefits of these devices for high precision trace gas analysis are demonstrated using a laser absorption spectroscopic setup. Thereby, the atmospherically highly relevant compounds CO2 (including its major isotopologues), CO and N2O are simultaneously determined with a precision of 0.16 ppm, 0.22 ppb and 0.26 ppb, respectively, using a 1-s integration time and an optical path-length of 36 m. This creates exciting new opportunities in the development of compact, multi-species trace gas analyzers. View Full-Text
Keywords: quantum cascade lasers; multi-wavelength; laser spectroscopy; etaloning; thermal effects; trace gas analysis quantum cascade lasers; multi-wavelength; laser spectroscopy; etaloning; thermal effects; trace gas analysis

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Süess, M.J.; Hundt, P.M.; Tuzson, B.; Riedi, S.; Wolf, J.M.; Peretti, R.; Beck, M.; Looser, H.; Emmenegger, L.; Faist, J. Dual-Section DFB-QCLs for Multi-Species Trace Gas Analysis. Photonics 2016, 3, 24.

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