Abstract

We have designed and demonstrated a quantum cascade laser (QCL) based standoff system that utilizes an uncooled mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) detector with lock-in signal processing for chemical identification at a distance of 12.5 meters in indoor ambient light conditions. In the system, a tunable quad-QCL operating (1 MHz) in quasi-continuous wave mode between 8.45 and 10.03 μm (∼1182 to 1000 cm−1) serves as the active mid-infrared source for remotely interrogating mineral, powder, and thin film oil samples including powder mixtures (6, 12.5, 25, and 50%) of crystalline quartz (SiO2) in KBr. Light as reflected from a given sample is collected using a 10-inch (25.4 cm) Dall Kirkham telescope and coupled with ZnSe optics to an uncooled MCT detector. The mixture dependence of the highly transparent KBr and strongly absorbing quartz was found to fit a modified version of the Schatz reflectance model for compacted powder mixtures. All reflectance spectra reported are relative to an Au-coated diffuse reflector. A NIST traceable polystyrene standard reflector was also used to determine the QCL wavelength tuning range and calibration.

© 2021 The Author(s)

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