National Research Council of Canada. Advanced Electronics and Photonics
We demonstrate a passively thermally-stabilized planar waveguide Fourier-transform spectrometer for remote detection of atmospheric methane. The device is implemented as a spatial heterodyne spectrometer using an array of 100 Mach-Zehnder interferometers (MZIs) on an integrated photonic chip. The spectrometer is buffered against temperature fluctuations by using waveguides with a carefully engineered, athermal geometry. The achieved waveguide thermooptic optic coefficient is 3.5×10−6K−1. Effective entrance aperture is increased over dispersive element spectrometers, without sacrificing spectral resolution, by coupling light independently to each of the 100 MZIs. The output of each MZI is sampled in quadrature, to compensate for non-uniform illumination across the MZI input apertures. The spectrometer is validated using a methane reference cell in a benchtop setup: an interferogram is inverted via least-squares spectral analysis (LSSA) to retrieve multiple absorption lines at a spectral resolution of 50 pm over a 1 nm free spectral range (FSR) centered at λ0 = 1666.5 nm. The retrieved spectrum is compared against the Beer-Lambert absorption law and is found to provide a correct measurement of the volume mixing ratio (VMR) in the optical path.