Room-temperature Fe:ZnSe laser tunable in thespectral range of 3.7–5.3 μm applied forintracavity absorption spectroscopy of CO2 isotopes, CO and N2O

We demonstrate an intracavity absorption spectroscopy system based on a broadband single-crystal pulsed Fe:ZnSe laser. The laser operates at room-temperature and is continuously tunable in the spectral range of 3.76–5.29 µm. The long-wavelength emission up to 5.29 µm is a record achievement for Fe:ZnSe lasers, to the best of our knowledge. The developed laser system is applied for measurements of gaseous absorption inside the laser resonator. We demonstrate sensitive detection of (i) CO2 isotopes in the atmosphere and in human breath, (ii) CO in breath (after cigarette smoking) and in the smoke of a smoldering paper, and (iii) N2O in a gas flow. The achieved detection limits are: 0.1 ppm for 12CO2 and 13CO2, 3 ppm for CO, and 1 ppm for N2O. The sensitivity of the current system is primarily limited by the short pump-pulse duration of 40 ns. Possibilities for sensitivity enhancement by up to a factor of 107 are discussed.

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