Widely tuneable quantum cascade lasers for spectroscopic sensing
In this paper recent advances in broadband-tuneable mid-infrared (MIR) external-cavity quantum cascade lasers (EC-QCL) technology are reported as well as their use in spectroscopic process analysis and imaging stand-off detection of hazardous substances, such as explosive and related precursors. First results are presented on rapid scan EC-QCL, employing a custom-made MOEMS scanning grating in Littrow-configuration as wavelength-selective optical feedback element. This way, a scanning rate of 1 kHz was achieved, which corresponds to 2000 full wavelength scans per second. Furthermore, exemplary case studies of EC-QCL based MIR spectroscopy will be presented. These include time resolved analysis of catalytic reactions in chemical process control, as well as imaging backscattering spectroscopy for the detection of residues of explosives and related precursors in a relevant environment.