All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Sergey Mirov

Advisory Committee Members

Vladimir Fedorov

David Hilton

John Williams

Xincheng Yao

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

This work is devoted to study of novel high power middle-infrared (Mid-IR) laser sources enabling development of portable platform for sensing of organic molecules with the use of recently discovered Quartz Enhanced Photo Acoustic Spectroscopy (QEPAS). The ability to detect small concentrations is beneficial to monitor atmosphere pollution as well for biomedical applications such as analysis of human breath to detect earlier stages of cancer or virus activities. A QEPAS technique using a quartz tuning fork (QTF) as a detector enables a strong enhancement of measured signal when pump laser is modulated with a frequency coinciding with a natural frequency of a QTF. It is known that the detectability of acousto-optics based sensors is proportional to the square root of the laser intensity used for detection of analyte. That is the reason why commercially available semiconductor Mid-IR lasers having small output power limit sensitivity of modern QEPAS based sensors. The lack of high power broadly tunable lasers operating with a modulation frequency of quartz forks (~ 32.768 kHz) is the major motivation of this study. Commercially available Mid-IR (2-3.3 µm), single frequency, continuous wave (CW) fiber pumped lasers based on transition metal doped chalcogenides (e.g. Cr:ZnSe) prove to be efficient laser sources for organic molecules detection. However, their direct modulation is limited to several kHz, and cannot be directly used in combination with QEPAS. Hence, one objective of this work is to study and develop fiber laser pumped Ho:YAG (Er:YAG)/Cr:ZnSe tandem laser system/s. Ho (Holmium) and/or Er (Erbium) ions having long radiation lifetime (~ 10 ms) can effectively accumulate population inversion under CW fiber laser excitation. Utilization of acousto-optic (AO) modulators in the cavity of Ho:YAG (Er:YAG) laser will enable effective Q-Switching with repetition rate easily reaching the resonance frequency of a QTF. It is expected that utilization of Ho:YAG (Er:YAG)/Cr:ZnSe tandem will further result in effective conversion of monochromatic radiation of Ho/Er lasers in a broadly tunable Mid-IR radiation compatible with QEPAS detection.

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