Physical Review A
We present an ac heterodyne technique in cavity ringdown spectroscopy that permits 1×10−10 absorption sensitivity with microwatt-level light power. Two cavity modes, one probing the empty cavity and the other probing intracavity absorption, are excited simultaneously but with their intensities temporally out of phase, with one mode decaying and the other rising. Heterodyne detection between the two modes reveals the dynamic time constants associated with the empty cavity and the additional intracavity gas absorption. The method offers a quick comparison between the on- and off-resonance information, a prerequisite to reaching the fundamental shot-noise limit. This simple and yet important improvement of cavity ringdown spectroscopy should lead to the enhanced performance of a wide range of applications.
Ye, Jun and Hall, John L., "Cavity Ringdown Heterodyne Spectroscopy: High Sensitivity with Microwatt Light Power" (2000). Physics Faculty Contributions. 87.