Tuning forks with optimized geometries for quartz-enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy
We report on the design, realization, and performance of novel quartz tuning forks (QTFs) optimized for quartz-enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy (QEPAS). Starting from a QTF geometry designed to provide a fundamental flexural in-plane vibrational mode resonance frequency of ~16 kHz, with a quality factor of 15,000 at atmospheric pressure, two novel geometries have been realized: a QTF with T-shaped prongs and a QTF with prongs having rectangular grooves carved on both surface sides. The QTF with grooves showed the lowest electrical resistance, while the T-shaped prongs QTF provided the best photoacoustic response in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). When acoustically coupled with a pair of micro-resonator tubes, the T-shaped QTF provides a SNR enhancement of a factor of 60 with respect to the bare QTF, which represents a record value for mid-infrared QEPAS sensing.