Improved Tuning Fork for Terahertz Quartz-Enhanced Photoacoustic Spectroscopy
We report on a quartz-enhanced photoacoustic (QEPAS) sensor for methanol (CH₃OH) detection employing a novel quartz tuning fork (QTF), specifically designed to enhance the QEPAS sensing performance in the terahertz (THz) spectral range. A discussion of the QTF properties in terms of resonance frequency, quality factor and acousto-electric transduction efficiency as a function of prong sizes and spacing between the QTF prongs is presented. The QTF was employed in a QEPAS sensor system using a 3.93 THz quantum cascade laser as the excitation source in resonance with a CH₃OH rotational absorption line located at 131.054 cm(-1). A minimum detection limit of 160 ppb in 30 s integration time, corresponding to a normalized noise equivalent absorption NNEA = 3.75 × 10(-11) cm(-1)W/Hz(½), was achieved, representing a nearly one-order-of-magnitude improvement with respect to previous reports.
quartz enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy; quartz tuning fork; gas sensing; THz spectroscopy; quantum cascade laser