Journal article

CO2 isotope sensor using a broadband infrared source, a spectrally narrow 4.4 μm quantum cascade detector, and a Fourier spectrometer

We report a prototype CO2 gas sensor based on a simple blackbody infrared source and a spectrally narrow quantum cascade detector (QCD). The detector absorption spectrum is centered at 2260 cm−1 (4.4 μm) and has a full width at half maximum of 200 cm−1 (25 meV). It covers strong absorption bands of two spectrally overlapping CO2 isotopomers, namely the P-branch of 12CO2 and the R-branch of 13CO2. Acquisition of the spectral information and data treatment were performed in a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer. By flushing its sample compartment either with nitrogen, dry fresh air, ambient air, or human breath, we were able to determine CO2 concentrations corresponding to the different gas mixtures. A detection limit of 500 ppb was obtained in these experiments.

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