A Sensitive Carbon Monoxide Sensor Based on Photoacoustic Spectroscopy with a 2.3 μm Mid-Infrared High-Power Laser and Enhanced Gas Absorption
A photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS)-based carbon monoxide (CO) gas sensor with a high-power laser and an enhanced gas absorption was demonstrated. The light source was a distributed feedback (DFB), continuous wave (CW) diode laser with a high output power of ~8 mW to give a strong excitation. The target gas received optical absorption enhanced two times by using a right-angle prism reflecting the laser beam. In order to reduce the noise from the background, wavelength modulation spectroscopy (WMS) and second-harmonic detection techniques were used. The modulation frequency and modulation depth were optimized theoretically and experimentally. Water vapor was added in the PAS sensor system to increase the vibrational–translational (V–T) relaxation rate of the CO molecule, which resulted in an ~8 times signal enhancement compared with the using of a dry CO/N2 gas mixture. The amplitude of the 2f signal had a 1.52-fold improvement compared to the one with only one time absorption. The experimental results showed that such a sensor had an excellent linear response to the optical power and gas concentration. At 1 s integration time, a minimum detection limit (MDL) for CO detection of 9.8 ppm was achieved. The long-term stability of the sensor system was evaluated with an Allan deviation analysis. When the integration time was 1100 s, the MDL improved to be 530 ppb. The detection performance of such a PAS-based CO sensor can be further improved when a laser with a higher output power and increasing optical absorption times is used.