This presentation introduces the spectroscopic concepts and results enabled by arrays of Distributed Feedback (DFB) QCLs, with each element at a slightly different wavelength than its neighbor. In portable optical systems, such as standoff threat detectors and in situ gas analyzers, this increases analyte sensitivity and selectivity by broadening spectral source coverage while also allowing for extremely fast all-electronic wavelength tuning with no moving parts.
This talk will first present the QCL array and its packaging, then move into the description of an integrated prototype standoff detection system, and finally show condensed phase standoff threat detection results from a handheld system from over 1 meter. These data are each compared with legacy contact-based methods to ensure that the technique can be reliably deployed to handheld chemical analysis using suitable chemometric algorithms.
The data show how monolithic and all-electronic tuning enables next-generation spectroscopes that are not only more robust and miniature than those that utilize external cavity-tuned lasers, but that are inherently more stable in terms the shot-to-shot amplitude and wavelength parameters. This enhanced stability increases signal to noise for a given configuration (pathlength, averaging time, concentration, etc…). Some discussion of how to maximize the benefits of high speed, highly reproducible tuning is presented, including detector, preamplifier, and digitization considerations.