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26 January 2018 Remote detection of leakages of non-IR-active gases by laser spectroscopy
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Remote leak detection of gases such as the homonuclear molecules (N2, H2, etc.) and noble gases (He, Ar etc.) is still an issue for tunable laser spectroscopy (TLS) because these gases do not have infrared absorption bands. In order to detect a leak in air, the gas displacement of the ambient air is used as an indirect indication of the leak. So, the unique idea is to measure the reduced oxygen concentration by a standoff laser spectrometer at an emission wavelength of 761 nm. The advantage of oxygen as indicator gas is the stable concentration level with respect to low spatial and temporal fluctuations. The challenge of the standoff detection is to analyze the small relative transmission change for weak light intensity scattered by the background. Furthermore, a remote measurement technique for high-level oxygen concentration on ppm level resolution is demonstrated. Here the combination of a high performance distributed feedback laser at 761 nm and high end sophisticated electronics for driver and data acquisition is required and designed. With the direct absorption spectroscopy, the concentration change of 2000 ppm within a 1 cm plume size (10 ml/min flow, ambient room conditions) corresponds to a transmission change in order of 2E-4 has been resolved on a low absolute power level of few micro watts in 1m distance. The detection limit corresponds to a nitrogen leakage rate of 0.1mbar·l/s which is comparable to ordinary remote detection systems for methane leakages.
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Thomas Strahl, Johannes Herbst, Eric Maier, Sven Rademacher, and Armin Lambrecht "Remote detection of leakages of non-IR-active gases by laser spectroscopy", Proc. SPIE 10540, Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XV, 105402K (26 January 2018);

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