Here we describe the development of a tunable ultraviolet LIDAR we use as an exploratory tool for fluorescence data acquisition and performance modeling of standoff bio- sensors. The system was developed around a Continuum model ND 6000 dye laser. The laser has a pulse repetition frequency of 10 Hertz and is tunable from 276 to 292 nanometers with a peak fluence of 75 milliJoules per pulse. The receiver consists of a 16-inch Dall-Kirkham telescope optically coupled, in free space mode, to two photomultipliers. The photomultipliers detect direct laser scatter and the resulting fluorescence. We will also describe the results of field trials conducted at Battelle's West Jefferson facility and chamber trials conducted at Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
In recent history, manmade and natural events have shown us the every-present need for systems to monitor the troposphere for contaminates. These contaminants may take either a chemical or biological form, which determines the methods we use to monitor them. Monitoring the troposphere for biological contaminants is of particular interest to my organization. Whether manmade or natural, contaminants of a biological origin share similar constituents; typically the aromatic amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine. All of these proteinaceous compounds autofluorescence when exposed to UV radiation and this established the basis of the laser-induced fluorescence technique we use to detect biological contaminants. This technique can be employed in either point or remote detection schemes and is a valuable tool for discriminating proteinaceous form non-proteinaceous aerosols. For this particular presentation I am going to describe a breadboard point sensor we designed and fabricated to detect proteinaceous aerosols. Previous point sensor designs relied on convoluted flow paths to concentrate the aerosols into a solution. Other systems required precise beam alignment to evenly distribute the energy irradiating the detector elements. Our objective was to build a simple system where beam alignment is not critical, and the flow is straight and laminar. The breadboard system was developed over a nine- month period and its performance assessed at a recent test at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. In addition, we have performed chamber experiments in an attempt to establish a baseline for the systems. The results of these efforts are presented here.
A UV fluorescence lidar system for the remote detection of bioaerosols has been built and tested. At the heart of the UV- LIDAR Fluorosensor system are a 200 mJ quadrupled Nd:YAG laser at 266 nm and a 16-inch Cassagrain telescope. Operating on three data collection channels, the UV lidar is capable of real time monitoring of 266 nm elastic backscatter, the total fluorescence between 300 and 400 nm, and the dispersed fluorescence spectrum (using a small spectrograph and gated intensified CCD array). Our goal in this effort was to assess the capabilities of biofluorescence for quantitative detection and discrimination of bioaerosols. To this end, the UV-LIDAR Fluorosensor system was tested against the aerosolized bacterial spore Bacillus subtilus var. niger sp. globiggi (BG) and several likely interferences at several ranges from approximately 600 to 3000 m. Our tests with BG indicate a detection limit of approximately 500 mg/cubic meter at a range of 3000 m.
Until quite recently the ability to detect and discriminate aerosolized micro-organisms at long range using the laser induced fluorescence (LIF) technique has met with limited success. The lasers which met our logistic requirements had insufficient energies to propagate through the troposphere and excite a target organism. The detectors, though sensitive enough, did not allow us to see a spectral distribution of the fluorescence return. Advances in laser and detector technology has now brought us higher energy, solid state lasers, and very sensitive array detectors. Using this new technology we built and tested an ultraviolet LIDAR against various interferents and a micro-organic contaminant. In this paper we describe the system and method used to detect and discriminate an aerosolized micro-organism at ranges up to 3 kilometers, and the results of this effort.