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A high resolution tunable infrared diode laser spectroscopy system was developed for isotope analysis with sensitivity at parts per billion levels. Such a system is ideally suited for detection and measurement of minute amounts of infrared active compounds present in a huge noninfrared active background such as air. The operation and capabilities of the system were demonstrated by measuring physiological levels of isotopic carbon monoxide, 12C 16O and 13C 16O, naturally present in exhaled human breath with essentially no sample preparation. The simplicity in obtaining such data suggests that fundamental physiological information may be derived from noninvasive measurements. This makes the system potentially useful for many biomedical applications.
Date of Publication: Oct. 1991