Lasers Adapted To Sense Trace Gases

February 12, 1998

New advances that will make possible detection of trace gases in airplane cabins, spacecraft and high-rise office buildings with sealed windows are being developed by researchers led by Rice engineer Frank Tittel. Advances in laser spectroscopy that will open new doors for optical detection and measurement are allowing researchers to adapt simple solid-state lasers to urban and industrial applications. The small diode lasers can be made to help measure minuscule concentrations of chemicals and gases. They could also be used as inexpensive sensors to monitor air quality to detect methane emissions from rice fields, or to monitor industrial pollution around the perimeter of an oil refinery or other chemical plants.
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Rice University

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