Electronic noise from quantum cascade laser drivers has long limited the detection threshold of chemical sensors. That may no longer be a problem. Wavelength Electronics (Bozeman, MT) has introduced the QCL LAB family of instruments that couples an intuitive touchscreen display with low-noise drive electronics that drop detection thresholds up to an order of magnitude.

Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) operate with high power at wavelengths suited to detecting molecules significant to humans. Some applications include remote detection of explosive materials, medical diagnosis using the breath, non-invasive glucose testing, emissions & air quality monitoring, and petroleum leak detection. With 0.4 μA RMS noise current and 1nA/√Hz average current noise density up to 100kHz, the QCL500 LAB instrument allows the lowest possible detection thresholds. Models are available with output currents of 500 mA, 1000 mA, 1500 mA, and 2000 mA in Constant Current mode. Compliance voltage is adjustable up to 20 V with 2-3 MHz analog modulation bandwidth.

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Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2015 issue of Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine.

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