A variant of cavity-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (CERS) is introduced, in which diode laser radiation at 635 nm is coupled into an external linear optical cavity composed of two highly reflective mirrors. Using optical feedback stabilisation, build-up of circulating laser power by 3 orders of magnitude occurs. Strong Raman signals are collected in forward scattering geometry. Gas phase CERS spectra of H2, air, CH4 and benzene are recorded to demonstrate the potential for analytical applications and fundamental molecular studies. Noise equivalent limits of detection in the ppm by volume range (1 bar sample) can be achieved with excellent linearity with a 10 mW excitation laser, with sensitivity increasing with laser power and integration time. The apparatus can be operated with battery powered components and can thus be very compact and portable. Possible applications include safety monitoring of hydrogen gas levels, isotope tracer studies (e.g., 14N/15N ratios), observing isotopomers of hydrogen (e.g., radioactive tritium), and simultaneous multi-component gas analysis. CERS has the potential to become a standard method for sensitive gas phase Raman spectroscopy.
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