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Analyst. 2011 Feb 21;136(4):801-6. doi: 10.1039/c0an00462f. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Trace species detection in the near infrared using Fourier transform broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy: initial studies on potential breath analytes.

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Department of Chemistry, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford, UK.


Cavity enhanced absorption measurements have been made of several species that absorb light between 1.5 and 1.7 µm using both a supercontinuum source and superluminescent light emitting diodes. A system based upon an optical enhancement cavity of relatively high finesse, consisting of mirrors of reflectivity ∼99.98%, and a Fourier transform spectrometer, is demonstrated. Spectra are recorded of isoprene, butadiene, acetone and methane, highlighting problems with spectral interference and unambiguous concentration determinations. Initial results are presented of acetone within a breath-like matrix indicating ppm precision at <∼10 ppm acetone levels. Instrument sensitivities are sufficiently enhanced to enable the detection of atmospheric levels of methane. Higher detection sensitivities are achieved using the supercontinuum source, with a minimum detectable absorption coefficient of ∼4 × 10(-9) cm(-1) reported within a 4 min acquisition time. Finally, two superluminescent light emitting diodes are coupled together to increase the wavelength coverage, and measurements are made simultaneously on acetylene, CO(2), and butadiene. The absorption cross-sections for acetone and isoprene have been measured with an instrumental resolution of 4 cm(-1) and are found to be 1.3 ± 0.1 × 10(-21) cm(2) at a wavelength of 1671.9 nm and 3.6 ± 0.2 × 10(-21) cm(2) at 1624.7 nm, respectively.

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