30 April 2009 Portable open-path chemical sensor using a quantum cascade laser
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Remote sensing of enemy installations or their movements by trace gas detection is a critical but challenging military objective. Open path measurements over ranges of a few meters to many kilometers with sensitivity in the parts per million or billion regime are crucial in anticipating the presence of a threat. Previous approaches to detect ground level chemical plumes, explosive constituents, or combustion have relied on low-resolution, short range Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR), or low-sensitivity near-infrared differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS). As mid-infrared quantum cascade laser (QCL) sources have improved in cost and performance, systems based on QCL's that can be tailored to monitor multiple chemical species in real time are becoming a viable alternative. We present the design of a portable, high-resolution, multi-kilometer open path trace gas sensor based on QCL technology. Using a tunable (1045-1047cm-1) QCL, a modeled atmosphere and link-budget analysis with commercial component specifications, we show that with this approach, accuracy in parts per billion ozone or ammonia can be obtained in seconds at path lengths up to 10 km. We have assembled an open-path QCL sensor based on this theoretical approach at City College of New York, and we present preliminary results demonstrating the potential of QCLs in open-path sensing applications.
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Paul Corrigan, Paul Corrigan, Maung Lwin, Maung Lwin, Reuven Huntley, Reuven Huntley, Amandeep Chhabra, Amandeep Chhabra, Fred Moshary, Fred Moshary, Barry Gross, Barry Gross, Samir Ahmed, Samir Ahmed, } "Portable open-path chemical sensor using a quantum cascade laser", Proc. SPIE 7312, Advanced Environmental, Chemical, and Biological Sensing Technologies VI, 73120P (30 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.820687; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.820687

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