Standoff chemical plume detection in turbulent atmospheric conditions with a swept-wavelength external cavity quantum cascade laser

Mark C. Phillips, Bruce E. Bernacki, Sivanandan S. Harilal, Jeremy Yeak, R. Jason Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rapid and sensitive standoff measurement techniques are needed for detection of trace chemicals in outdoor plume releases, for example from industrial emissions, unintended chemical leaks or spills, burning of biomass materials, or chemical warfare attacks. Here, we present results from 235 m standoff detection of transient plumes for 5 gas-phase chemicals: Freon 152a (1,1-difluoroethane), Freon 134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane), methanol (CH3OH), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ammonia (NH3). A swept-wavelength external cavity quantum cascade laser (ECQCL) measures infrared absorption spectra over the range 955-1195 cm–1 (8.37-10.47 µm), from which chemical concentrations are determined via spectral fits. The fast 400 Hz scan rate of the swept-ECQCL enables measurement above the turbulence time-scales, reducing noise and allowing plume fluctuations to be measured. For high-speed plume detection, noise-equivalent column densities of 1-2 ppm*m are demonstrated with 2.5 ms time resolution, improving to 100-400 ppb*m with 100 ms averaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7408-7424
Number of pages17
JournalOptics Express
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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