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Water-Vapor Detection Using Asynchronous THz Sampling

Volume 60, Number 3 (March 2006) Page 261-265

Brown, Michael S.; Fiechtner, Gregory J.; Rudd, J.V.; Zimdars, David A.; Warmuth, Matthew; Gord, James R.


The use of a fiber-coupled terahertz (THz) transmitter/receiver pair for spectroscopic detection of water vapor is investigated. Transmission signals of an alumina cylinder demonstrate that the measurement approach can be applied in a windowless ceramic combustor. First, a conventional commercial transmitter/receiver pair is used to make measurements for frequencies to 1.25 THz. Water-vapor absorption is clearly evident within the alumina transparency window and is readily modeled using existing databases. A variety of data-acquisition schemes is possible using THz instrumentation. To assess signal-collection techniques, a prototype THz transmitter/receiver pair is then used with the asynchronous optical-sampling (ASOPS) technique to obtain asynchronous THz-sampling signals to 1 THz without the need for an optomechanical delay line. Two mode-locked Ti:sapphire lasers operating at slightly different repetition rates are used for pumping the transmitter and receiver independently to permit a complete time-domain THz signal to be recorded. The resulting repetitive phase walkout is demonstrated by collecting power spectra of room air that exhibit water-vapor absorption.