We describe a new compact acousto-optically Q-switched diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) intracavity frequency-tripled neodymium-doped yttrium vanadate laser capable of producing ~100 mW of 213 nm power quasi-continuous wave as 15 ns pulses at a 30 kHz repetition rate. We use this new laser in a prototype of a deep ultraviolet (UV) Raman standoff spectrometer. We use a novel high-throughput, high-resolution Echelle Raman spectrograph. We measure the deep UV resonance Raman (UVRR) spectra of solid and solution sodium nitrate (NaNO3) and ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) at a standoff distance of ~2.2 m. For this 2.2 m standoff distance and a 1 min spectral accumulation time, where we only monitor the symmetric stretching band, we find a solid state NaNO3 detection limit of ~100 μg/cm2. We easily detect ~20 μM nitrate water solutions in 1 cm path length cells. As expected, the aqueous solutions UVRR spectra of NaNO3 and NH4NO3 are similar, showing selective resonance enhancement of the nitrate (NO3−) vibrations. The aqueous solution photochemistry is also similar, showing facile conversion of NO3− to nitrite (NO2−). In contrast, the observed UVRR spectra of NaNO3 and NH4NO3 powders significantly differ, because their solid-state photochemistries differ. Whereas solid NaNO3 photoconverts with a very low quantum yield to NaNO2, the NH4NO3 degrades with an apparent quantum yield of ~0.2 to gaseous species.
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