Abstract

Differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) of atmospheric trace gases requires the detection of optical densities below 0.1%. Photodiode arrays are used more and more as detectors for DOAS because they allow one to record larger spectral intervals simultaneously. This type of optical multichannel analyzer (OMA), however, shows sensitivity differences among the individual photodiodes (pixels), which are of the order of 1%. To correct for this a sensitivity reference spectrum is usually recorded separately from the trace-gas measurements. Because of atmospheric turbulence the illumination of the detector while an atmospheric absorption spectrum is being recorded is different from the conditions during the reference measurement. As a result the sensitivity patterns do not exactly match, and the corrected spectra still show a residual structure that is due to the sensitivity difference. This effect usually limits the detection of optical densities to approximately 3 × 10−4. A new method for the removal of the sensitivity pattern is presented in this paper: Scanning the spectrometer by small wavelength increments after each readout of the OMA allows one to separate the OMA-fixed pattern and the wavelength-fixed structures (absorption lines). The properties of the new method and its applicability are demonstrated with simulated spectra. Finally, first atmospheric measurements with a laser long-path instrument demonstrate a detection limit of 3 × 10−5 of a DOAS experiment.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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