Quartz-tuning-fork enhanced photothermal spectroscopy for ultra-high sensitive trace gas detection
Tittel, Frank K.
A gas sensing method based on quartz-tuning-fork enhanced photothermal spectroscopy (QEPTS) is reported in this paper. Unlike usually used thermally sensitive elements, a sharply resonant quartz-tuning-fork with the capability of enhanced mechanical resonance was used to amplify the photothermal signal level. Acetylene (C2H2) detection was used to verify the QEPTS sensor performance. The measured results indicate a minimum detection limit (MDL) of 718 ppb and a normalized noise equivalent absorption coefficient (NNEA) of 7.63 × 10−9 cm−1W/√Hz. This performance demonstrates that QEPTS can be an ultra-high sensitive technique for gas detection and shows superiority when compared to usually used methods of tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) and quartz-enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy (QEPAS). Furthermore, when compared to an optical detector, especially a costly mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) detector with cryogenic cooling used in TDLAS, a quartz-tuning-fork is much cheap and tiny. Besides, compared to the QEPAS technique, QEPTS is a non-contact measurement technique and therefore can be used for standoff and remote trace gas detection.