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31 May 2013 Terahertz atmospheric attenuation and continuum effects
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Remote sensing over long path lengths has become of greater interest in the terahertz frequency region. Applications such as pollution monitoring and detection of energetic chemicals are of particular interest. Although there has been much attention to atmospheric effects over narrow frequency windows, accurate measurements across a wide spectrum is lacking. The water vapor continuum absorption spectrum was investigated using Fourier Transform Spectroscopy. The continuum effect gives rise to an excess absorption that is unaccounted for in just a resonant line spectrum simulation. The transmission of broadband terahertz radiation from 0.300THz - 1.5THz through air with varying relative humidity levels was recorded for multiple path lengths. From these data, the absorption coefficient as a function of frequency was determined and compared with model calculations. The intensity and location of the strong absorption lines were in good agreement with spectral databases such as the 2008 HITRAN database and the JPL database. However, a noticeable continuum effect was observed particularly in the atmospheric transmission windows. A small discrepancy still remained even after accounting for continuum absorption using the best available data from the literature. This discrepancy, when projected over a one kilometer path length, typical of distances used in remote sensing, can cause a 30dB difference between calculated and observed attenuation. From the experimental and resonant line simulation spectra the air-broadening continuum parameter was calculated and compared with values available in the literature.
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David M. Slocum, Thomas M. Goyette, Elizabeth J. Slingerland, Robert H. Giles, and William E. Nixon "Terahertz atmospheric attenuation and continuum effects", Proc. SPIE 8716, Terahertz Physics, Devices, and Systems VII: Advanced Applications in Industry and Defense, 871607 (31 May 2013);

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