(19)
(11)EP 2 579 021 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 12275155.5

(22)Date of filing:  04.10.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G01N 21/3504  (2014.01)

(54)

Laser based cavity enhanced optical absorption gas analyzer with laser feedback optimization

Hohlraumverstärkter optischer Gasabsorptionsanalysator auf Laserbasis mit Laserrückkopplungsoptimierung

Cavité laser d'un analyseur de gaz par absorption optique amélioré avec optimisation de rétroaction de laser


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 04.10.2011 US 201113252915

(43)Date of publication of application:
10.04.2013 Bulletin 2013/15

(73)Proprietor: LI-COR, INC.
Lincoln NE 68504 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • Koulikov, Serguei
    Mountain View, CA California 94040 (US)
  • Kachanov, Alexander
    San Jose, CA California 95112-2032 (US)

(74)Representative: Wilson Gunn 
Charles House 148/9 Great Charles Street
Birmingham B3 3HT
Birmingham B3 3HT (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A1- 2006 181 710
US-A1- 2011 214 479
  
  • J. MORVILLE ET AL.: "Two schemes for trace detection using cavity ringdown spectroscopy", APPLIED PHYSICS B, vol. 78, 1 January 2004 (2004-01-01), pages 465-476, XP002691703,
  • MICHAEL HIPPLER ET AL: "Cavity-enhanced resonant photoacoustic spectroscopy with optical feedback cw diode lasers: A novel technique for ultratrace gas analysis and high-resolution spectroscopy", JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS, NEW YORK, NY, US, vol. 133, no. 4, 28 July 2010 (2010-07-28) , pages 44308-1, XP008159807, ISSN: 0021-9606, DOI: 10.1063/1.3461061 [retrieved on 2010-07-29]
  • MORVILLE J ET AL: "Fast, low-noise, mode-by-mode, cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy by diode-laser self-locking", APPLIED PHYSICS B ; LASERS AND OPTICS, SPRINGER, BERLIN, DE, vol. 80, no. 8, 1 June 2005 (2005-06-01), pages 1027-1038, XP019337410, ISSN: 1432-0649, DOI: 10.1007/S00340-005-1828-Z
  • MOTTO-ROS V ET AL: "Extensive characterization of the optical feedback cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OF-CEAS) technique: ringdown-time calibration of the absorption scale", APPLIED PHYSICS B ; LASERS AND OPTICS, SPRINGER, BERLIN, DE, vol. 91, no. 1, 20 February 2008 (2008-02-20), pages 203-211, XP019588311, ISSN: 1432-0649
  • COURTILLOT I ET AL: "Sub-ppb NO2 detection by optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy with a blue diode laser", APPLIED PHYSICS B ; LASERS AND OPTICS, SPRINGER, BERLIN, DE, vol. 85, no. 2-3, 21 July 2006 (2006-07-21), pages 407-412, XP019442392, ISSN: 1432-0649, DOI: 10.1007/S00340-006-2354-3
  • D.J. HAMILTON ET AL.: "A quantum cascade laser-based optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectrometer for the simultaneous measurement of CH4 and N2O in air", APPLIED PHYSICS B, vol. 102, no. 4, 1 April 2011 (2011-04-01) , pages 879-890, XP002691704,
  • PETER CERMAK ET AL: "Optical-Feedback Cavity-Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy Using a Short-Cavity Vertical-External-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser", IEEE PHOTONICS TECHNOLOGY LETTERS, IEEE SERVICE CENTER, PISCATAWAY, NJ, US, vol. 12, no. 21, 1 November 2010 (2010-11-01), pages 1607-1609, XP011318466, ISSN: 1041-1135
  • WEHR R ET AL: "Optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy for in situ measurements of the ratio 13C:12C in CO2", APPLIED PHYSICS B ; LASERS AND OPTICS, SPRINGER, BERLIN, DE, vol. 92, no. 3, 27 June 2008 (2008-06-27), pages 459-465, XP019627083, ISSN: 1432-0649
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

BACKGROUND



[0001] The present invention relates generally to generally to trace gas detection and more specifically to cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) systems and methods for measuring the trace gases.

[0002] In cavity enhanced optical absorption spectroscopy systems and methods, radiation of a laser is directed into a resonance cavity, and the optical intensity inside the cavity is observed. The optical frequency of the laser can be periodically scanned. If it is assumed for clarity that the laser linewidth is much smaller than the cavity resonance width, at the moment when the laser light frequency coincides with a cavity mode transmission peak the optical intensity inside the resonance cavity reflects total cavity loss, and the total cavity loss can be quantitatively determined provided that the incident intensity and cavity parameters are known. The total cavity loss is a sum of the cavity mirror losses and losses caused by absorption of a gas mixture present in the cavity. The lower the cavity mirror losses, or equivalently, the higher each mirror's reflectivity - the smaller the absorption of the intra-cavity gas mixture that can be detected. With very high reflectivity mirrors, the laser linewidth will become too large compared to the cavity resonance width, thus limiting achievable enhancement of the gas mixture absorption by the cavity. This can be helped by narrowing the laser linewidth using optical feedback from the cavity and a laser that is sensitive or responsive to optical feedback from the cavity. With such a laser during the scan, as the frequency of the laser light approaches the frequency of one of the cavity modes, the laser locks to that mode. By saying that the laser is locked to the mode it is meant that the laser linewidth becomes much smaller than the resonance mode width, and that regardless whether the frequency scan range of the unlocked laser may be large, in a locked condition the optical frequency of the laser will change only within the resonance peak. As the laser frequency scan continues, the laser will lose the lock to the current cavity mode and relock to the next cavity mode that it approaches. Due to the optical feedback effect, the laser optical frequency during the scan will essentially take the number of discrete values corresponding to the peaks of the cavity mode resonances that are equidistant in optical frequency. A discrete absorption spectrum of the analyzed gas can thus be obtained by sequential coupling to the entire set of the cavity modes within the scan range, and the trace gas concentration can be derived from the absorption spectrum. This sub-family of cavity enhanced optical absorption derived from the absorption spectrum. This sub-family of cavity enhanced optical absorption spectroscopy systems and methods that uses optical feedback will be referred to as optical feedback cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OF CEAS).

[0003] In OF CEAS, the strength of the optical feedback from the resonance cavity to the laser has to be in certain limits, otherwise it is impossible to provide reproducible scan-to-scan mode coupling as the laser scans. In OF CEAS systems and methods that are known so far, complex optical components are used for this purpose, such as Faraday isolators, variable optical attenuators, or polarization rotators. Adverse interference effects, temperature drifts and aging drifts may result from these components in the system. Achieving high stability and high reproducibility of the optical absorption measurements becomes a major problem.

[0004] J. MORVILLE ET AL.: "Two schemes for trace detection using cavity ringdown spectroscopy", APPLIED PHYSICS B, vol. 78, 1 January 2004, pages 465-476, XP002691703 (D1), discloses a cavity ring down spectroscopy system including a laser diode coupled with a V-shaped ringdown cavity. The system includes a variable attenuator element positioned between the cavity and the laser to control a locking range of the laser which is comparable to the cavity mode spacing.

[0005] Therefore it is desirable to provide OF CEAS systems and methods that overcome the above and other problems. In particular, very high stability and reproducibility of the absorption measurements should be achieved while retaining reproducible scan to scan sequential coupling to every mode in the cavity with no modes missing.

BRIEF SUMMARY



[0006] The present invention provides optical feedback assisted cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy systems and methods for measuring trace gases with improved long-term stability and reproducibility.

[0007] Embodiments of the present invention advantageously enable achieving a laser frequency scan across cavity modes without missing any of the cavity many modes while providing the measurement of optical absorption of the intra-cavity gas mixture with no additional optical elements in the path between the laser and the cavity dedicated to control the optical feedback strength. In prior systems, additional optical components are used to help ensure that no such modes may be missed. In the present embodiments, the laser can be reproducibly locked to any optical resonance cavity mode within the laser's adjustable frequency range, without the added complexity present in prior systems, and more importantly without the instability and the perturbations caused by such additional elements.

[0008] In order to reduce complexity and obtain sequential coupling, e.g., when the optical locking range is not larger than the cavity FSR (free spectral range), the optical feedback strength is kept below a threshold value, In certain embodiments, this is accomplished by one of three different approaches, e.g., by one of approaches 1) or 2) below, or 3) their combination:
  1. 1) For the first approach, the total round-trip loss of the cavity is chosen to provide desirable instrument sensitivity, whereas the transmission or transmissivity of the mirror from which the feedback light emerges from the cavity is selected or set to provide optical feedback strength below a threshold value.
  2. 2) For the second approach, in case of using a laser that has intrinsic linearly polarized output emission and a cavity having two sets of linearly polarized modes orthogonal to each other, the laser is oriented in such a way that its output polarization makes a non-zero angle to orthogonally polarized cavity mode sets. The angle value is set to provide optical feedback strength for each set of modes below the threshold value.


[0009] In certain embodiments, e.g., if it turns out that the optical feedback strength is above the threshold value in the entire range of mutual orientation angle between the laser and the cavity eigenpolarizations, the second approach is combined with the first approach, namely the transmission of the coupling mirror is set to provide optical feedback strength below the threshold for both mode sets. When there is non-zero angle between the laser light and cavity mode polarizations, the laser can be locked to two sets of the orthogonally polarized cavity modes. The mode losses for two different polarizations are different and fixed by the design of the mirror coatings, e.g., multi-layer mirror coatings.

[0010] This second approach provides several additional advantages, for example:
  • the loss difference between orthogonally polarized modes can be used as an internal standard in cavity enhanced absorption measurements;
  • same loss difference between orthogonally polarized mode sets provides wider dynamic range with weaker spectral lines being measured using a lower loss mode set while strong spectral lines may be saturated, but the strong spectral lines will then be measured using a higher loss mode set;
  • the existing difference of the mode frequencies between the orthogonally polarized mode sets results in higher spectral resolution.


[0011] In certain embodiments, systems and methods are provided for detecting trace gases using a resonance optical cavity, containing a gas mixture, that has two or more mirrors and that is capable of being frequency-scanned by changing the optical length of the cavity. A laser or other light source that is capable of being frequency-scanned is coupled to the cavity though one of the cavity mirror, e.g., a "coupling mirror". When the frequency of the laser light approaches the frequency of one of the cavity modes, the laser begins to fill the cavity to that mode. Optical intensity inside the resonance cavity reflects total cavity loss at the moment when the laser light frequency coincides with the cavity mode transmission peak. The total cavity loss is a sum of the cavity mirror losses and losses caused by absorption of the analyzed gas mixture. Control of the feedback intensity of the light incident from the cavity to the laser enables reproducible locking to any optical resonance cavity mode within the adjustable frequency range of the laser.

[0012] According to one aspect of the present invention, a system is provided for detecting one or more analyte species present in a gaseous or liquid medium. The system typically includes a resonant optical cavity containing said medium and having at least two cavity mirrors, one of which is a cavity coupling mirror, with the cavity having a plurality of optical resonance cavity modes, and a laser that emits continuous wave laser light, wherein the laser is capable of being scanned whereby a mean optical frequency of the laser is adjustable over a range of frequencies, and wherein the laser is responsive to optical feedback light emerging from the cavity. The system also typically includes mode matching optics configured to couple the laser light to the cavity via the cavity coupling mirror, and a detector configured to measure an intensity of the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity and to generate a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity. The cavity is typically designed wherein the transmissivities of the at least two cavity mirrors are selected or set such that the intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser is below a threshold intensity value so as to ensure that a frequency hold interval range of the optical frequency of the laser is smaller than a free spectral range of the cavity. For example, to advantageously avoid using a separate optical feedback strength adjustment element, the transmissivity (i.e., a metric indicative of the amount of light passing from the cavity through a mirror) of all mirrors, and in particular of the mirror through which the feedback light comes back to the laser, is selected such that the optical feedback strength to the laser is below the threshold value. This usually means that the transmissivity of the mirror providing feedback to the laser should be much lower than that of the other mirrors. For example, to advantageously bring the system to the same enhancement as a system having three mirrors with the same reflectivities and including a separate optical feedback strength adjustment element (called for this example "system 1"), the cavity roundtrip loss can be made equal to that of the cavity of system 1 (but without using such adjustment element); the loss factor of the cavity roundtrip is sum of natural logarithms of the cavity mirrors reflectivities, so one can make the two cavities equal by choosing 4ln(R) = ln(R1) + 2ln(R2) + ln(R3) where R is relectivity of the mirrors of system 1, and for the V-cavity embodiment, R1 is reflectivity of one end mirror, R2 is the reflectivity of the coupling mirror (providing feedback to the laser), and R3 is the reflectivity of the other end mirror.

[0013] According to another aspect of the present invention, a system is provided for detecting one or more analyte species present in a gaseous or liquid medium. The system typically includes a resonant optical cavity containing the medium and having at least two cavity mirrors, one of which is a cavity coupling mirror, with the cavity having a plurality of optical resonance cavity modes, wherein the cavity has two sets of linearly polarized cavity modes orthogonal to each other, and a laser that emits continuous wave laser light, wherein the laser has a linearly polarized output, wherein the laser is capable of being scanned whereby a mean optical frequency of the laser is adjustable over a range of frequencies, and wherein the laser is responsive to optical feedback light emerging from the cavity. The system also typically includes mode matching optics configured to couple the laser light to the cavity via the cavity coupling mirror, and a detector configured to measure an intensity of the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity and to generate a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity. In one embodiment, an orientation of the laser relative to the cavity is selected so that the output polarization of the laser makes a non-zero angle with respect to the polarization of the cavity modes so that the intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser is below a threshold intensity value so as to ensure locking to one or more of the plurality of optical resonance cavity modes that have a frequency within said range of frequencies of the laser. In certain aspects, the orientation of the laser relative to the cavity is adjustable so that the output polarization of the laser makes a non-zero angle with respect to the polarization of the cavity modes so that the intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser is below the threshold intensity value. In certain aspects, the system includes a means for adjusting the laser position and/or orientation so as to adjust the angle of the output polarization with respect to the polarization of the cavity modes.

[0014] According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a system is provided for detecting one or more analyte species present in a gaseous or liquid medium. The system typically includes a resonant optical cavity containing the medium and having at least two cavity mirrors, one of which is a cavity coupling mirror, with the cavity having a plurality of optical resonance cavity modes, and a laser that emits continuous wave laser light, wherein the laser is capable of being scanned whereby a mean optical frequency of the laser is adjustable over a range of frequencies, and wherein the laser is responsive to optical feedback light emerging from the cavity. The system also typically includes mode matching optics configured to couple the laser light to the cavity via the cavity coupling mirror, and a detector configured to measure an intensity of the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity and to generate a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity. In one embodiment, the transmissivity of a laser output coupler is selected such that the intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser or the active laser medium is below a threshold intensity value so as to ensure locking to one or more of the plurality of optical resonance cavity modes that have a frequency within said range of frequencies of the laser.

[0015] According to still a further aspect, a system is provided for detecting one or more analyte species present in a gaseous or liquid medium. The system typically includes a resonant optical cavity containing the medium and having at least two cavity mirrors, one of which is a cavity coupling mirror, with the cavity having a plurality of optical resonance cavity modes, wherein the cavity has two sets of linearly polarized cavity modes orthogonal to each other, and a laser that emits continuous wave laser light, wherein the laser has a linearly polarized output, wherein the laser is capable of being scanned whereby a mean optical frequency of the laser is adjustable over a range of frequencies, and wherein the laser is responsive to optical feedback light emerging from the cavity. The system also typically includes mode matching optics configured to couple the laser light to the cavity via the cavity coupling mirror; and a detector configured to measure an intensity of the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity and to generate a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity. In one embodiment, the intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser is controlled to be below a threshold intensity value that ensures locking to one or more of the plurality of optical resonance cavity modes that have a frequency within said range of frequencies of the laser by selection of an orientation of the laser relative to the cavity so that the output polarization of the laser makes a non-zero angle with respect to the polarization of the cavity modes and/or by selection of the reflectivities of the at least two cavity mirrors.

[0016] In certain aspects, the laser includes a semiconductor diode laser. In certain aspects, the optical feedback light impinges on the laser from the cavity coupling mirror. In certain aspects, the reflectivity of the cavity coupling mirror is greater than the reflectivity of the other cavity mirror(s).

[0017] In the various embodiments, as the mean optical frequency of the laser is sequentially adjusted (scanned) over the range of frequencies, the laser advantageously locks to sequential cavity modes without missing any cavity modes. The laser can also be reproducibly locked to any optical resonance cavity mode within the adjustable frequency range of the laser.

[0018] In certain aspects, the cavities of the various embodiments can have a structure of a ring cavity having three or more cavity mirrors, a linear cavity having two cavity mirrors, or a V-shaped cavity having three cavity mirrors.

[0019] In certain aspects for the various embodiments, a means for adjusting a phase of the optical feedback light is provided. In certain aspects for the various embodiments, a means for adjusting the intensity of the optical feedback light is provided. Such means may include, for example, an optical attenuator element positioned between the laser and the cavity along a path of the optical feedback light.

[0020] Reference to the remaining portions of the specification, including the drawings and claims, will realize other features and advantages of the present invention. Further features and advantages of the present invention, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the present invention, are described in detail below with respect to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers indicate identical or functionally similar elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0021] 

FIG. 1 illustrates a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system according to one embodiment.

FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system 200 wherein selection or adjustment of polarization orientation is used to control the intensity of the optical feedback to the laser source according to another embodiment.

FIG. 4 illustrates the relationship of the reflectivities of the cavity mirrors for a v-shaped cavity that defines the intensity of the feedback to the laser source.

FIG. 5 illustrates a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system according to yet another embodiment.

FIG. 6 illustrates a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system according to yet a further embodiment.

FIG. 7 illustrates a CEAS system having a v-shaped cavity configuration according to another embodiment.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0022] The present invention provides cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy systems and methods for measuring trace gases with improved scan to scan mode coupling efficiency and improved optical feedback control.

[0023] Embodiments of the present invention provide simple, precise and reliable cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy systems and methods for detecting trace gases that have improved accuracy and stability as compared to existing systems and methods based upon similar principles. This is achieved, in part, by excluding from the optical path between the laser and the cavity components that may cause optical interference effects, temperature, and/or ageing drifts, etc., and adding to or enhancing features of the remaining components to provide improved device operation in the absence of the removed components. For example, embodiments of CEAS systems as disclosed herein advantageously do not require or need any settable attenuator, e.g., placed in the path between the laser and the cavity, or other element to attenuate or control the laser-cavity coupling rate.

[0024] Fig 1 illustrates a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system 100 according to one embodiment. As shown, CEAS system 100 includes a light source 1 that emits continuous wave coherent light, such as continuous wave laser light, an optical cavity 4 and two detectors, detector 8 and detector 9. As shown, cavity 4 is a V-shaped cavity defined by cavity coupling mirror 5 and mirrors 6 and 7. It should be appreciated that the cavity could be a linear cavity with two or more mirrors, or a ring shaped cavity with three or more mirrors, or any other structure having three or more mirrors. An enclosure or housing (not shown) provides an air tight seal for cavity 4 such as to allow control of the environment within the housing and hence the cavity 4. One or more optical components 2 are configured and arranged to facilitate directing laser light from source 1 to the optical cavity 4 via cavity coupling mirror 5 and to ensure the mode matching of the laser to the cavity. In the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, a beam splitting element 3 is positioned and aligned so as to allow substantially all of the incident light 12 emitted or generated by source 1 to impinge on cavity coupling mirror 5. A portion of the incident light beam 12 is directed (e.g., reflected or refracted) by element 3 to detector 8. Cavity coupling mirror 5, in this embodiment, is arranged at an angle with respect to beam 12, although it could be perpendicular to beam 12. A portion of incident light 12 enters cavity 4 via mirror 5. Depending on the frequency of incident light 12 and the optical length of cavity 4 (e.g., optical length from mirror 7 to mirror 5 to mirror 6) light 18 circulating in the cavity may build up and resonate at one or a plurality of cavity modes defined by the optical length of the cavity. A portion of the intra-cavity light 18 circulating in cavity 4 between mirrors 7, 5 and 6, emerges or escapes via mirror 5 and impinges on element 3. Element 3 allows a portion 20 to pass back to source 1.

[0025] In certain aspects, source 1 includes a laser or other coherent light source that is sensitive or responsive to optical feedback. One useful laser is a semiconductor diode laser that is sensitive to optical feedback from light 20 impinging on the laser from the cavity, e.g., from coupling mirror 5 in the current configuration. In general, useful laser sources might include diode lasers, quantum cascade lasers and solid state lasers, any external cavity laser, etc. Selection of the reflectivities (or transmissivities) of mirrors 5, 6 and 7 defines the intensity of beam 20 and hence the optical feedback intensity (see e.g., Fig. 4) provided to laser 501. By setting or controlling the optical feedback intensity, the laser can be coupled to any cavity mode which is in the laser scanning range.

[0026] Source 1 is also preferably capable of being frequency scanned, whereby a mean optical frequency of the laser is adjustable over a range of frequencies. This can be accomplished as is well known, such as, for example, by adjusting the current applied to a diode laser and/or adjusting a temperature of the laser medium. In certain aspects, the cavity 4 is also capable of being frequency scanned, e.g., by changing or adjusting an optical length of the cavity, whereby an optical frequency of a cavity resonance peak is adjustable over a range of frequencies. Adjustment of the optical length of the cavity can include adjusting or modulating a relative position of one or more of the cavity mirrors, adjusting a pressure of the medium within cavity 4 or other ways as are known to one skilled in the art.

[0027] In certain embodiments, CEAS system 10 is useful for detecting trace gases within a gas mixture present in the cavity 4. When the frequency of the light 12 emitted by source 1 approaches the frequency of one of the cavity modes, the light 12 entering the cavity 4 begins to fill the cavity to that mode. The optical intensity of the light 18 circulating inside the resonance cavity reflects total cavity loss at the moment when the light frequency of light 12 coincides with the cavity mode transmission peak. The total cavity loss is a sum of the cavity mirror losses and losses caused by absorption by one or more components of the gas mixture present in the cavity. Analyte absorption, e.g., absorption losses caused by absorption by the one or more gas components, is determined based on the difference of the cavity loss when the absorbing component is present in an analyzed gas and the cavity loss when the absorbing component is absent in a reference gas.

[0028] Figs. 2 and 3 illustrates a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system 200 wherein selection or adjustment of polarization orientation is used to control the intensity of the optical feedback to the laser source according to another embodiment. The principle of operation of CEAS system 200 is similar to that of CEAS system 100, including operation of a v-shaped cavity structure 204, with cavity mirror 205 being a cavity coupling mirror. Here, as shown the source 201 has an intrinsic linearly polarized emission and the cavity has two sets of linearly polarized modes orthogonal to each other. In Fig. 2, the polarization of the incident laser beam 212 coincides with the polarization of the cavity mode. In Fig. 3 the polarization of the incident laser beam 212 does not coincide with the polarization of the cavity mode, and hence the intensity of the optical feedback to laser 201 is reduced. In this embodiment, a means to rotate the polarization of the incident laser light 212 is provided for use in setting, controlling or adjusting the optical feedback intensity to the laser 201. The means, in certain aspects, includes a mechanical element coupled with the laser, or a platform holding the laser, that physically rotates the laser so that the output polarization is rotated. For example, if the polarization vector of beam 212 is rotated by angle α relative to the polarization of the cavity mode, the intracavity power is proportional to cos(α), and the intensity of the light 220 directed back to the laser 201 is also proportional to cos(α), however, the intensity of the feedback light coupled to the laser mode is proportional to cos2(α). It should be noted that no attenuator between the cavity and laser need be used as the mutual orientation of the cavity and the laser affects the cavity coupling rate.

[0029] Fig. 4 shows the relationship of the intensity of the feedback to the laser source as a function of the reflectivities of the cavity mirrors for a v-shaped cavity (FIG. 4a) and for a linear cavity (FIG. 4b). For simplicity, any absorption losses on the mirrors in the cavity are neglected. Generally, it is desirable that the reflectivity (R) of the cavity coupling mirror be greater than, or even significantly greater than, the reflectivities (R1) of the other mirror(s) of the cavity. Or, said another way, it is desirable that the transmissivity (T = 1-R) of the cavity coupling mirror be less than, or even significantly less than, the transmissivities (T1) of the other mirror(s) of the cavity. FIG 4. also shows two configurations: a) in which the mirror, from which the feedback light emerges from the cavity, is the same as an input mirror (FIG. 4a); and b) where the input and output mirrors are different. The second configuration where the input and feedback mirrors are different is advantageous for OFCEAS and PAS applications as such configuration typically provides for a greater intracavity power. Useful configurations for controlling and steering the output/feedback beam are discussed below with reference to FIG. 7.

[0030] Fig. 5 illustrates a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system 500 according to yet another embodiment. The principle of operation of CEAS system 500 is similar to that of CEAS system 100, including a v-shaped cavity structure 504, with cavity mirror 505 being a cavity coupling mirror. Cavity coupling mirror 505, in this configuration, is positioned and oriented such that incident light beam 512 generated by source 501 impinges upon mirror 505 at an angle relative to the plane defined by mirror 505 at the area of impact. The mirror 505 could be oriented perpendicular to beam 512. Detector 509 detects light emerging from mirror 507 and generates a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity 504. An intelligence module (not shown) receives and processes the detector output signals. Here, laser output coupler 503 of laser 501, has its transmissivity set, or adjusted, so as to control the intensity of feedback light interacting with laser 501, or laser medium 522, e.g., to provide optical feedback intensity below a threshold value. Laser 501 includes any laser having an output coupler, e.g., an external cavity laser.

[0031] Fig. 6 illustrates a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system 600 according to yet a further embodiment that allows for both photo-acoustic spectroscopy (PAS)and direct absorption spectroscopy measurements using the same cavity. The principle of operation of CEAS system 600 is similar to that of CEAS system 100, including a v-shaped cavity structure 604, with cavity mirror 605 being a cavity coupling mirror. Cavity coupling mirror 605 is positioned such that incident light beam 612 generated by source 601 impinges upon mirror 605 at an angle relative to the plane defined by mirror 605 at the area of impact. The mirror 605 could be oriented perpendicular to beam 612. Detector 609 detects light emerging from mirror 607 and generates a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity 604. Detector 608, in this embodiment, is positioned internal to the cavity (e.g., within the cavity housing structure) to detect a response of the gas mixture filling the optical cavity 604 to the intracavity optical power in the form of an acoustic signal. US Patent application Serial No. 12/660,614, filed on March 2, 2010, provides details of photo-acoustic spectroscopy, useful photo-acoustic sensors and photo-acoustic measurement techniques and parameters. An intelligence module (not shown) receives and processes the detector output signals, and provides output signals representative of the PAS and/or CEAS measurements.

[0032] In certain embodiments, a means for organizing an unidirectional beam path around the optical cavity is provided. For example, such an arrangement might include one or more optical isolators, which prevent light propagation from the cavity to the laser in opposite direction. In certain embodiments, a means for adjusting the intensity of the optical feedback light is provided. For example, Fig. 7 illustrates a cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) system 700 according to such an embodiment. The principle of operation of CEAS system 700 is similar to that of CEAS system 100, for example, including a v-shaped cavity structure 704, with cavity mirror 705 being a cavity coupling mirror. Cavity coupling mirror 705 is positioned such that incident light beam 712 generated by laser diode source 701 impinges upon mirror 705 at an angle relative to the plane defined by mirror 705 at the area of impact so that light is reflected to photodetector 708. Optional beamsplitting element 703 directs a portion of incident beam 712 to optional detector 710. In one example, the beamsplitting element 703 transmits substantially 50% of incident light. Photodetector 709, in this embodiment, is positioned to receive and detect the portion of the intra-cavity light 718 circulating back and forth within cavity 704 between mirrors 705, 706 and 707 that emerges or escapes via mirror 706. Similar to the operation of CEAS 100, photodetector 710 detects and generates a signal representing the intensity of the laser light 712 incident on the cavity coupling mirror 705, detector 708 detects and generates a signal representing the intensity of the laser light reflected by the cavity coupling mirror 705, and detector 709 detects and generates a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity 704. An intelligence module (not shown) receives the three detector output signals and processes these signals to produce or generate output signal(s).

[0033] Also as shown in Fig. 7 are additional elements to enhance control of the optical feedback, specifically control of the optical feedback to source 701. As shown, light emerging from cavity mirror 707 passes through a phasor 720 and returns to source 701, via beamsplitting element 713. In one example, the beamsplitting element 713 transmits substantially 90% of incident light. Optical isolators 718 and 719 are provided to completely block light which travels in the opposite direction. For example, optical isolator element 719 blocks light returning (e.g., reflected light or light escaping from the cavity via mirror 705) from mirror 705 toward source 701, and optical isolator element 718 prevents light returning from phasor 720 (e.g., light reflected by phasor 720 or source light reflected by beamsplitter 713 that is passing through phasor 720 on an opposite path) from impinging on mirror 707. Selection of the cavity mirror reflectivities (e.g., R1, R2 and R3) defines the optical feedback intensity provided to source 701. Use of phasor 720 advantageously allows for phase control of the optical feedback provided to source 701 from the cavity 704. It should be appreciated that similar structures and/or functionality for guiding a beam and controlling feedback intensity can be applied to linear cavities and ring cavities.

[0034] As used herein, the terms "threshold intensity value" or "threshold value" when used with reference to optical feedback of the laser source is intended to mean the intensity of the optical feedback above which the laser will lock to a cavity mode for one FSR (free spectral range) of the cavity. Two examples show the condition when the optical feedback strength is above the threshold value: 1) when a cavity mode is scanned for more than one FSR, but the laser continues to be locked to the same cavity mode;2) when the laser current or temperature of the laser is adjusted so that the laser frequency is scanned, and when unperturbed by optical feedback the laser frequency would be scanned for more than one cavity FSR, whereas in the presence of the (high) optical feedback the laser continues to be locked to the same cavity mode. As above, it is desirable in cavity enhanced absorption systems and methods to avoid this situation, and indeed the above embodiments advantageously ensure that the laser locks to sequential cavity modes as the laser wavelength is being scanned without missing any cavity modes.

[0035] While the invention has been described by way of example and in terms of the specific embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. To the contrary, it is intended to cover various modifications and similar arrangements as would be apparent to those skilled in the art.


Claims

1. A system (100) for detecting one or more analyte species present in a gaseous or liquid medium, the system (100) comprising:

a resonant optical cavity (4) containing said medium and having at least two cavity mirrors (5, 6, 7), one of which is a cavity coupling mirror (5), the cavity (4) having a plurality of optical resonance cavity modes;

a laser (1) that emits continuous wave laser light, wherein the laser (1) is capable of being scanned whereby a mean optical frequency of the laser (1) is adjustable over a range of frequencies, and wherein the laser (1) is responsive to optical feedback light emerging from the cavity (4);

mode matching optics (2) configured to couple the laser light to the cavity (4) via the cavity coupling mirror (5); and

a detector (8, 9) configured to measure an intensity of the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity (4) and to generate a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity (4);

characterised in that the transmissivity of at least one of the cavity mirrors (5, 6, 7) is selected so that the intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser (1) is below a threshold intensity value so as to ensure that a frequency hold interval range of the optical frequency of the laser (1) is smaller than a free spectral range of the cavity (4) and no additional optical elements are provided in the path between the laser (1) and the cavity (4) dedicated to control optical feedback strength.


 
2. The system (100) of claim 1, wherein the cavity (4) has a configuration selected from the group consisting of a ring cavity having three or more cavity mirrors, a linear cavity having two or more cavity mirrors, and a V-shaped cavity having three cavity mirrors.
 
3. The system (100) of any preceding claim, further including an acoustic sensor incorporated inside the optical cavity (4) to measure a photo-acoustic signal generated by the gaseous or liquid medium within the cavity (4).
 
4. The system (100) of any preceding claim, further including a means for adjusting the mean optical frequency of the laser (1) so as to scan the mean optical frequency of the laser (1) over a cavity resonance peak.
 
5. The system (100) of any preceding claim, wherein the cavity (4) is capable of being scanned whereby an optical frequency of a cavity resonance mode peak is adjustable over a range of frequencies.
 
6. The system (100) of claim 5, further including a means for controlling a position of one of the cavity mirrors (5, 6, 7) so as to scan the optical frequency of the cavity resonance mode peak.
 
7. The system (100) of any preceding claim, wherein the laser (1) has a linearly polarized output and wherein the cavity (4) has two sets of linearly polarized modes orthogonal to each other.
 
8. The system (100) of claim 7, wherein an orientation of the laser (1) relative to the cavity (4) is selected so that the intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser (1) is below the threshold intensity value.
 
9. The system (100) of claim 7 or claim 8, wherein an orientation of the laser (1) relative to the cavity (4) is adjustable so that the output polarization of the laser (1) makes a non-zero angle with respect to the polarization of the cavity modes so that the intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser (1) is below the threshold intensity value.
 
10. The system (100) of claim 9, wherein the non-zero angle is selected so as to provide optical feedback intensity for each set of modes below the threshold value.
 
11. The system (100) of any preceding claim, wherein as the mean optical frequency of the laser (1) is sequentially adjusted (scanned) over the range of frequencies, the laser (1) locks to sequential cavity modes.
 
12. The system (100) of any preceding claim, wherein the transmissivity of a laser output coupler is selected such that intensity of the optical feedback light impinging on the laser (1) is below the threshold intensity value.
 
13. The system (100) of any preceding claim, further including a means for adjusting the intensity of the optical feedback light.
 
14. The system (1) of any preceding claim, further including a means for adjusting a phase of the optical feedback light.
 
15. A method for detecting one or more analyte species present in a gaseous or liquid medium using a laser (1) that that emits continuous wave laser light and a resonant optical cavity (4) containing said medium and having at least two cavity mirrors (5, 6, 7), one of which is a cavity coupling mirror (5), wherein the laser (1) is responsive to optical feedback light emerging from the cavity (4), and wherein a mean optical frequency of the laser (1) is adjustable over a range of frequencies, the method comprising:

coupling the laser light to the cavity (4) via the cavity coupling mirror (5) using mode matching optics (2), the cavity (4) having a plurality of optical resonance cavity modes;

adjusting a mean optical frequency of the laser (1) so as to scan the mean optical frequency of the laser (1) over one or more of the optical resonance cavity modes that have a frequency within said range of frequencies of the laser (1);

arranging the laser (1) and/or the cavity mirrors (5, 6, 7), including selecting the transmissivity of at least one of the cavity mirrors (5, 6, 7) such that intensity of optical feedback light impinging on the laser (1) is below a threshold intensity value so as to ensure that a frequency hold interval range of the optical frequency of the laser (1) is smaller than a free spectral range of the cavity (4) and no additional optical elements are provided in the path between the laser (1) and the cavity (4) dedicated to control optical feedback strength; and

measuring an intensity of the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity (4) and generating a signal representing the intracavity optical power of light circulating in the cavity (4).


 
16. The method of claim 15, wherein the cavity (4) has a configuration selected from the group consisting of a ring cavity having three or more cavity mirrors, a linear cavity having two or more cavity mirrors, and a V-shaped cavity having three cavity mirrors.
 
17. The method of any one of claims 15 to 16, wherein the laser (1) has a linear polarized output and wherein the cavity (4) has two sets of linearly polarized modes orthogonal to each other, the method further including adjusting an orientation of the laser (1) relative to the cavity (4) so that the output polarization of the laser (1) makes a non-zero angle with respect to the polarization of the cavity modes.
 
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the non-zero angle is selected so as to provide optical feedback intensity for each set of cavity modes below the threshold value.
 


Ansprüche

1. System (100) zum Detektieren einer oder mehrerer Analyseproben, die in einem gasförmigen oder flüssigen Medium vorhanden sind, wobei das System (100) aufweist:

einen optischen Resonanzhohlraum (4), der das Medium umfasst und mindestens zwei Hohlraumspiegel (5, 6, 7) aufweist, von denen einer ein Hohlraumkoppelspiegel (5) ist, wobei der Hohlraum (4) eine Vielzahl von optischen Resonanzhohlraummodi aufweist,

einem Laser (1), der kontinuierliches Wellenlaserlicht emittiert, wobei der Laser (1) zum Scannen ausgebildet ist, wobei eine mittlere optische Frequenz des Lasers (1) über einen Bereich von Frequenzen einstellbar ist, und wobei der Laser (1) auf optisches Rückkopplungslicht anspricht, welches von dem Hohlraum (4) emittiert wird,

eine moduserfassende Optik (2), welche ausgebildet ist, das Laserlicht zu dem Hohlraum (4) über den Hohlraumkoppelspiegel (5) zu koppeln, und

einen Detektor (8, 9), welcher zum Messen einer Intensität der hohlrauminneren Energie des Lichtes, welches innerhalb des Hohlraumes (4) zirkuliert, und zum Erzeugen eines Signals repräsentativ für die hohlrauminnere Energie des Lichtes ist, welches in dem Hohlraum (4) zirkuliert,

dadurch gekennzeichnet,

dass die Tranmissivität von zumindest einem der Hohlraumspiegel (5, 6, 7) so ausgewählt ist, dass die Intensität des optischen Rückkoppellichtes, welches auf den Laser (1) trifft, unterhalb eines Grenzintensitätswertes liegt, so dass sichergestellt ist, dass ein Frequenz-Halteintervallbereich der optischen Frequenz des Lasers (1) kleiner als ein freier Spektralbereich des Hohlraums (4) ist und keine zusätzlichen optischen Elemente in dem Weg zwischen dem Laser (1) und dem Hohlraum (4) vorgesehen sind, welcher zum Steuern der optischen Rückkoppelstärke bestimmt ist.


 
2. System (100) nach Anspruch 1,
wobei der Hohlraum (4) eine Konfiguration aufweist, welche ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe bestehend aus einem Ringhohlraum mit drei oder vier Hohlraumspiegeln, einem linearen Hohlraum mit zwei oder mehr Hohlraumspiegeln und einem V-förmigen Hohlraum mit drei Hohlraumspiegeln.
 
3. System (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche,
welches weiter einen akustischen Sensor aufweist, welcher innerhalb des optischen Hohlraumes (4) eingebaut ist, um ein fotoakustisches Signal zu messen, welches innerhalb des Hohlraumes (4) durch das gasförmige oder flüssige Medium erzeugt wird.
 
4. System (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche,
welches weiter eine Einrichtung zum Einstellen der mittleren optischen Frequenz des Lasers (1) aufweist, um so die mittlere optische Frequenz des Lasers (1) über eine Hohlraumresonanzspitze zu scannen.
 
5. System (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche,
wobei der Hohlraum (4) zum Scannen ausgebildet ist, wobei eine optische Frequenz einer Resonanzhohlraum-Modusspitze über einen Frequenzbereich einstellbar ist.
 
6. System (100) nach Anspruch 5,
welches weiter eine Einrichtung zum Steuern einer Position von einem der Hohlraumspiegel (5, 6, 7) aufweist, um so die optische Frequenz der Resonanzhohlraum-Modusspitze zu scannen.
 
7. System (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche,
wobei der Laser (100) eine linearpolarisierte Ausgabe hat und
wobei der Hohlraum (4) zwei Sätze von linearpolarisierten Modi hat, welche zueinander orthogonal sind.
 
8. System (100) nach Anspruch 7,
wobei eine Orientierung des Lasers (1) relativ zu dem Hohlraum (4) ausgewählt ist, so dass die Intensität des optischen Rückkoppellichtes, welches auf den Laser (1) auftrifft, unterhalb des Grenzintensitätswertes liegt.
 
9. System (100) nach Anspruch 7 oder Anspruch 8,
wobei eine Orientierung des Lasers (1) relativ zu dem Hohlraum (4) einstellbar ist, so dass die Ausgabepolarisation des Lasers (1) einen nicht Null-Winkel in Bezug auf die Polarisation der Hohlraummodi ergibt, so dass die Intensität des optischen Rückkoppellichtes, welches auf den Laser (1) auftritt, unterhalb des Grenzwertintensitätswerts liegt.
 
10. System (100) nach Anspruch 9,
wobei der nicht Null-Winkel ausgewählt ist, um so eine optische Rückkoppelintensität für jeden der Satz von Modi unterhalb des Grenzwertes vorzusehen.
 
11. System (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche,
wobei, wenn die mittlere optische Frequenz des Lasers (1) sequentiell über den Bereich der Frequenzen eingestellt (gescannt) wird, der Laser (1) bei sequentiellen Hohlraummodi eingreift.
 
12. System (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche,
wobei die Transmissivität des Laserausgabekopplers so ausgewählt ist, dass die Intensität des optischen Rückkoppellichtes, welches auf den Laser (1) trifft, unter dem Grenzintensitätswert liegt.
 
13. System (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche,
welches weiter eine Einrichtung zum Einstellen der Intensität des optischen Rückkoppellichtes aufweist.
 
14. System (100) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche,
welches weiter eine Einrichtung zum Einstellen einer Phase des optischen Rückkoppellichtes aufweist.
 
15. Verfahren zum Detektieren einer oder mehrerer Analyseproben, die in einem gasförmigen oder flüssigen Medium vorhanden sind,
welches einen Laser (1), welcher kontinuierliches Wellenlaserlicht emittiert, und einen optischen Resonanzhohlraum (4) verwendet, welcher das Medium beinhaltet und mindestens zwei Hohlraumspiegel (5, 6, 7) umfasst, von denen einer ein Hohlraumkoppelspiegel (5) ist, wobei der Laser (1) auf optisches Rückkopplungslicht anspricht, welches von dem Hohlraum (4) abgesandt wird, und
wobei eine mittlere optische Frequenz des Lasers über einen Bereich von Frequenzen einstellbar ist, wobei das Verfahren aufweist:

- Koppeln des Laserlichtes zu einem Hohlraum (4) über den Hohlraumkopplungsspiegel (5) unter Verwendung von moduserfassenden Optiken (2), wobei der Hohlraum (4) eine Vielzahl von optischen Resonanzhohlraummodi aufweist,

- Einstellen einer mittleren optischen Frequenz des Lasers (1), um so die mittlere optische Frequenz des Lasers (1) über einen oder mehr optische Resonanzhohlraummodi zu scannen, welche eine Frequenz innerhalb des Frequenzbereiches des Lasers (1) haben,

- Anordnen des Lasers (1) und/oder der Hohlraumspiegel (5, 6, 7), umfassend ein Auswählen der Transmissivität von zumindest einem der Hohlraumspiegel (5, 6, 7), so dass eine Intensität des optischen Rückkoppellichtes, welches auf den Laser (1) auftrifft, unterhalb eines Grenzintensitätswertes liegt, so dass sichergestellt ist, dass ein Frequenz-Halteintervallbereich der optischen Frequenz des Lasers (1) kleiner als ein freier Spektralbereich des Hohlraumes (4) ist und keine zusätzlichen optischen Elemente in dem Weg zwischen dem Laser (1) und dem Hohlraum (4) vorgesehen sind, welcher zum Steuern der optischen Rückkoppelstärke bestimmt ist, und

- Messen einer Intensität des hohlrauminneren Energie des Lichtes, welches in dem Hohlraum (4) zirkuliert, und Erzeugen eines Signales entsprechend der hohlrauminneren Energie des Lichtes, welches in dem Hohlraum (4) zirkuliert.


 
16. Verfahren nach Anspruch 15,
wobei der Hohlraum (4) eine Anordnung aufweist, welche ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe bestehend aus einem ringförmigen Hohlraum mit drei oder mehr Hohlraumspiegel, einem linearen Hohlraum mit zwei oder mehr Hohlraumspiegeln und einem V-förmigen Hohlraum mit drei Hohlraumspiegeln.
 
17. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 15 bis 16,
wobei der Laser (1) eine lineare polarisierte Ausgabe hat und wobei der Hohlraum (4) zwei Sätze von linear polarisierten Modi hat, welche orthogonal zueinander sind, wobei das Verfahren weiter ein Einstellen einer Orientierung des Lasers (1) relativ zu dem Hohlraum (4) aufweist, so dass die Ausgabepolarisation des Lasers (1) einen Nicht-Null-Winkel in Bezug auf die Polarisation der Hohlraummodi ergibt.
 
18. Verfahren nach Anspruch 17,
wobei der Nicht-Null-Winkel ausgewählt ist, so dass dieser eine optische Rückkopplungsintensität für jeden Satz der Hohlraummodi unterhalb dem Grenzwert erzeugt.
 


Revendications

1. Système (100) pour détecter une ou plusieurs espèces d'analyte présentes dans un milieu gazeux ou liquide, le système (100) comprenant :

une cavité optique résonante (4) contenant ledit milieu et comportant au moins deux miroirs à cavité (5, 6, 7), dont l'un est un miroir de couplage à cavité (5), la cavité (4) comportant une pluralité de modes de cavité de résonance optique ;

un laser (1) qui émet de la lumière laser à onde continue, dans lequel le laser (1) est capable d'être balayé moyennant quoi une fréquence optique moyenne du laser (1) est ajustable sur une plage de fréquences, et dans lequel le laser (1) réagit à la lumière de rétroaction optique émergeant de la cavité (4) ;

de l'optique d'adaptation de mode (2) configurée pour coupler la lumière laser à la cavité (4) via le miroir de couplage à cavité (5) ; et

un détecteur (8, 9) configuré pour mesurer une intensité de la puissance optique intra-cavité de lumière circulant dans la cavité (4) et pour générer un signal représentant la puissance optique intra-cavité de lumière circulant dans la cavité (4) ;

caractérisé en ce que la transmissivité d'au moins un des miroirs à cavité (5, 6, 7) est sélectionnée de telle sorte que l'intensité de la lumière de rétroaction optique arrivant sur le laser (1) se situe sous une valeur d'intensité seuil de manière à garantir qu'une plage d'intervalles de maintien de fréquence de la fréquence optique du laser (1) est plus petite qu'une plage spectrale libre de la cavité (4) et aucun élément optique supplémentaire ne se trouve dans le chemin entre le laser (1) et la cavité (4) consacré à la commande de la force de rétroaction optique.


 
2. Système (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la cavité (4) a une configuration sélectionnée à partir du groupe constitué d'une cavité annulaire comportant au moins trois miroirs à cavité, une cavité linéaire comportant au moins deux miroirs à cavité, et une cavité en forme de V comportant trois miroirs à cavité.
 
3. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, incluant en outre un capteur acoustique incorporé à l'intérieur de la cavité optique (4) pour mesurer un signal photo-acoustique généré par le milieu gazeux ou liquide dans la cavité (4).
 
4. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, incluant en outre un moyen pour ajuster la fréquence optique moyenne du laser (1) de manière à balayer la fréquence optique moyenne du laser (1) sur un pic de résonance de cavité.
 
5. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la cavité (4) est capable d'être balayée moyennant quoi une fréquence optique d'un pic de mode de résonance de cavité est ajustable sur une plage de fréquences.
 
6. Système (100) selon la revendication 5, incluant en outre un moyen pour commander une position d'un des miroirs à cavité (5, 6, 7) de manière à balayer la fréquence optique du pic de mode de résonance de cavité.
 
7. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le laser (1) a une sortie linéairement polarisée et dans lequel la cavité (4) comporte deux ensembles de modes linéairement polarisés orthogonaux entre eux.
 
8. Système (100) selon la revendication 7, dans lequel une orientation du laser (1) par rapport à la cavité (4) est sélectionnée de telle sorte que l'intensité de la lumière de rétroaction optique arrivant sur le laser (1) se situe sous la valeur d'intensité seuil.
 
9. Système (100) selon la revendication 7 ou revendication 8, dans lequel une orientation du laser (1) par rapport à la cavité (4) est ajustable de telle sorte que la polarisation de sortie du laser (1) crée un angle non nul par rapport à la polarisation des modes de cavité de telle sorte que l'intensité de la lumière de rétroaction optique arrivant sur le laser (1) se situe sous la valeur d'intensité seuil.
 
10. Système (100) selon la revendication 9, dans lequel l'angle non nul est sélectionné de manière à fournir une intensité de rétroaction optique pour chaque ensemble de modes sous la valeur seuil.
 
11. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel, la fréquence optique moyenne du laser (1) étant séquentiellement ajustée (balayée) sur la plage de fréquences, le laser (1) se bloque sur des modes de cavité séquentiels.
 
12. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la transmissivité d'un coupleur de sortie laser est sélectionnée de telle sorte que l'intensité de la lumière de rétroaction optique arrivant sur le laser (1) se situe sous la valeur d'intensité seuil.
 
13. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, incluant en outre un moyen pour ajuster l'intensité de la lumière de rétroaction optique.
 
14. Système (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, incluant en outre un moyen pour ajuster une phase de la lumière de rétroaction optique.
 
15. Procédé pour détecter une ou plusieurs espèces d'analyte présentes dans un milieu gazeux ou liquide à l'aide d'un laser (1) qui émet de la lumière laser à onde continue et une cavité optique résonante (4) contenant ledit milieu et comportant au moins deux miroirs à cavité (5, 6, 7), dont l'un est un miroir de couplage à cavité (5), dans lequel le laser (1) réagit à la lumière de rétroaction optique émergeant de la cavité (4), et dans lequel une fréquence optique moyenne du laser (1) est ajustable sur une plage de fréquences, le procédé comprenant :

le couplage de la lumière laser à la cavité (4) via le miroir de couplage à cavité (5) à l'aide d'optique d'adaptation de mode (2), la cavité (4) comportant une pluralité de modes de cavité de résonance optique ;

l'ajustement d'une fréquence optique moyenne du laser (1) de manière à balayer la fréquence optique moyenne du laser (1) sur un ou plusieurs des modes de cavité de résonance optique qui ont une fréquence dans ladite plage de fréquences du laser (1) ;

l'agencement du laser (1) et/ou des miroirs à cavité (5, 6, 7), incluant la sélection de la transmissivité d'au moins un des miroirs à cavité (5, 6, 7) de telle sorte que l'intensité de lumière de rétroaction optique arrivant sur le laser (1) se situe sous une valeur d'intensité seuil de manière à garantir qu'une plage d'intervalles de maintien de fréquence de la fréquence optique du laser (1) est plus petite qu'une plage spectrale libre de la cavité (4) et aucun élément optique supplémentaire ne se trouve dans le chemin entre le laser (1) et la cavité (4) consacré à la commande de la force de rétroaction optique ; et

la mesure d'une intensité de la puissance optique intra-cavité de lumière circulant dans la cavité (4) et la génération d'un signal représentant la puissance optique intra-cavité de lumière circulant dans la cavité (4).


 
16. Procédé selon la revendication 15, dans lequel la cavité (4) présente une configuration sélectionnée à partir du groupe constitué d'une cavité annulaire comportant au moins trois miroirs à cavité, une cavité linéaire comportant au moins deux miroirs à cavité, et une cavité en forme de V comportant trois miroirs à cavité.
 
17. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 15 à 16, dans lequel le laser (1) a une sortie polarisée linéaire et dans lequel la cavité (4) comporte deux ensembles de modes linéairement polarisés orthogonaux entre eux, le procédé incluant en outre l'ajustement d'une orientation du laser (1) par rapport à la cavité (4) de telle sorte que la polarisation de sortie du laser (1) crée un angle non nul par rapport à la polarisation des modes de cavité.
 
18. Procédé selon la revendication 17, dans lequel l'angle non nul est sélectionné de manière à fournir une intensité de rétroaction optique pour chaque ensemble de modes de cavité sous la valeur seuil.
 




Drawing
























REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description