11 June 2012 Development of a fluorescence polarization submersible instrument for the detection of submerged heavy oil spills
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Abstract
Spills of Group V heavy oils are a concern because once spilled heavy oils will immediately sink to the bottom and can harm wetlands, beaches, and marine life. Recently, we developed a new tool-fluorescence polarization (FP)- for locating heavy oil deposits. The method relies on the observation that heavy, viscous oil fractions exhibit polarized fluorescence while the ubiquitous fluorescence background characteristic of chlorophyll and humic compounds do not. The basic FP measurement entails exciting the fluorophore with polarized light and observing the intensities of the emission polarized perpendicular and parallel to it. Heavy, tarry oils containing higher molecular weight polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons fractions exhibit strong FP. The development of a remotely operated, submersible FP instrument will be presented, as well as testing results of the instrument in a simulated spill set up by the US Coast Guard at the National Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility (OHMSETT). The FP instrument utilizes a laser (532 nm) to excite the oil matrix. A small refracting telescope with variable focus is employed as the front optics and used to focus the laser beam and to collect the polarized fluorescence from the sample at a standoff distance. An embedded computer resides inside and controls the various operations such as autofocusing of the telescope and data acquisition. The embedded computer also allows autonomous or remotely controlled operation. FP along with phase sensitive detection combines to provide excellent sunlight rejection, thus allowing the use of the instrument during daylight hours.
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Job Bello, Anton G. Smirnov, Patrick Toomey, "Development of a fluorescence polarization submersible instrument for the detection of submerged heavy oil spills", Proc. SPIE 8372, Ocean Sensing and Monitoring IV, 83720B (11 June 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919509; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.919509
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