Abstract

The determination of small absorption coefficients of trace gases in the atmosphere constitutes a challenge for analytical air contaminant measurements, especially in the presence of strongly absorbing backgrounds. A step-scan differential Fourier transform infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy (DFTIR-PAS) method was developed to suppress the coherent external noise and spurious photoacoustic (PA) signals caused by strongly absorbing backgrounds. The infrared absorption spectra of acetylene (C2H2) and local air were used to verify the performance of the step-scan DFTIR-PAS method. A linear amplitude response to C2H2 concentrations from 100 to 5000 ppmv was observed, leading to a theoretical detection limit of 5 ppmv. The differential mode was capable of eliminating the coherent noise and dominant background gas signals, thereby revealing the presence of the otherwise hidden C2H2 weak absorption. Thus, the step-scan DFTIR-PAS modality was demonstrated to be an effective approach for monitoring weakly absorbing gases with absorption bands overlapped by strongly absorbing background species.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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