Article

A broadband Fourier transform microwave spectrometer based on chirped pulse excitation

Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia, McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.
Review of Scientific Instruments (Impact Factor: 1.61). 06/2008; 79(5):053103. DOI: 10.1063/1.2919120
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Designs for a broadband chirped pulse Fourier transform microwave (CP-FTMW) spectrometer are presented. The spectrometer is capable of measuring the 7-18 GHz region of a rotational spectrum in a single data acquisition. One design uses a 4.2 Gsampless arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) to produce a 1 mus duration chirped pulse with a linear frequency sweep of 1.375 GHz. This pulse is sent through a microwave circuit to multiply the bandwidth of the pulse by a factor of 8 and upconvert it to the 7.5-18.5 GHz range. The chirped pulse is amplified by a traveling wave tube amplifier and broadcast inside the spectrometer by using a double ridge standard gain horn antenna. The broadband molecular free induction decay (FID) is received by a second horn antenna, downconverted, and digitized by a 40 Gsampless (12 GHz hardware bandwidth) digital oscilloscope. The second design uses a simplified pulse generation and FID detection scheme, employing current state-of-the-art high-speed digital electronics. In this spectrometer, a chirped pulse with 12 GHz of bandwidth is directly generated by using a 20 Gsampless AWG and upconverted in a single step with an ultrabroadband mixer. The amplified molecular emission is directly detected by using a 50 Gsampless digital oscilloscope with 18 GHz bandwidth. In both designs, fast Fourier transform of the FID produces the frequency domain rotational spectrum in the 7-18 GHz range. The performance of the CP-FTMW spectrometer is compared to a Balle-Flygare-type cavity-FTMW spectrometer. The CP-FTMW spectrometer produces an equal sensitivity spectrum with a factor of 40 reduction in measurement time and a reduction in sample consumption by a factor of 20. The CP-FTMW spectrometer also displays good intensity accuracy for both sample number density and rotational transition moment. Strategies to reduce the CP-FTMW measurement time by another factor of 90 while simultaneously reducing the sample consumption by a factor of 30 are demonstrated.

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