Beat frequency quartz-enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy for fast and calibration-free continuous trace-gas monitoring
Quartz-enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy (QEPAS) is a sensitive gas detection technique which requires frequent calibration and has a long response time. Here we report beat frequency (BF) QEPAS that can be used for ultra-sensitive calibration-free trace-gas detection and fast spectral scan applications. The resonance frequency and Q-factor of the quartz tuning fork (QTF) as well as the trace-gas concentration can be obtained simultaneously by detecting the beat frequency signal generated when the transient response signal of the QTF is demodulated at its non-resonance frequency. Hence, BF-QEPAS avoids a calibration process and permits continuous monitoring of a targeted trace gas. Three semiconductor lasers were selected as the excitation source to verify the performance of the BF-QEPAS technique. The BF-QEPAS method is capable of measuring lower trace-gas concentration levels with shorter averaging times as compared to conventional PAS and QEPAS techniques and determines the electrical QTF parameters precisely.