A widely tunable pulsed external cavity quantum cascade laser operating around 8μm has been used to make rotationally resolved measurements of rapid passage effects in the absorption spectrum of N2O. Rapid passage signals as a function of laser power and N2O pressure are presented. Comparisons are drawn with measurements performed on the same transition with a standard distributed feedback quantum cascade laser. The initial observations on rapid passage effects induced with an external cavity quantum cascade laser show that such high power, widely tunable radiation sources may find applications in both nonlinear optics and optical sensing experiments.

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