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21 May 2014 High-resolution terahertz atmospheric water vapor continuum measurements
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The terahertz frequency regime is often used as the ‘chemical fingerprint’ region of the electromagnetic spectrum due to the large number of rotational and vibrational transitions of many molecules of interest. This region of the spectrum has particular utility for applications such as pollution monitoring and the detection of energetic chemicals using remote sensing over long path lengths through the atmosphere. Although there has been much attention to atmospheric effects over narrow frequency windows, accurate measurements across a wide spectrum are lacking. The water vapor continuum absorption is an excess absorption that is unaccounted for in resonant line spectrum simulations. Currently a semiempirical model is employed to account for this absorption, however more measurements are necessary to properly describe the continuum absorption in this region. Fourier Transform Spectroscopy measurements from previous work are enhanced with high-resolution broadband measurements in the atmospheric transmission window at 1.5THz. The transmission of broadband terahertz radiation through pure water vapor as well as air with varying relative humidity levels was recorded for multiple path lengths. The pure water vapor measurements provide accurate determination of the line broadening parameters and experimental measurements of the transition strengths of the lines in the frequency region. Also these measurements coupled with the atmospheric air measurements allow the water vapor continuum absorption to be independently identified at 1.5THz. Simulations from an atmospheric absorption model using parameters from the HITRAN database are compared with the current and previous experimental results.
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David M. Slocum, Thomas M. Goyette, and Robert H. Giles "High-resolution terahertz atmospheric water vapor continuum measurements", Proc. SPIE 9102, Terahertz Physics, Devices, and Systems VIII: Advanced Applications in Industry and Defense, 91020E (21 May 2014);

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