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Proceedings Paper

Active coherent laser spectrometer for remote detection and identification of chemicals
Author(s): Neil A. MacLeod; Damien Weidmann
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Paper Abstract

Currently, there exists a capability gap for the remote detection and identification of threat chemicals. We report here on the development of an Active Coherent Laser Spectrometer (ACLaS) operating in the thermal infrared and capable of multi-species stand-off detection of chemicals at sub ppm.m levels. A bench top prototype of the instrument has been developed using distributed feedback mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers as spectroscopic sources. The instrument provides active eye-safe illumination of a topographic target and subsequent spectroscopic analysis through optical heterodyne detection of the diffuse backscattered field. Chemical selectivity is provided by the combination of the narrow laser spectral bandwidth (typically < 2 MHz) and frequency tunability that allows the recording of the full absorption spectrum of any species within the instrument line of sight. Stand-off detection at distances up to 12 m has been demonstrated on light molecules such as H2O, CH4 and N2O. A physical model of the stand-off detection scenario including ro-vibrational molecular absorption parameters was used in conjunction with a fitting algorithm to retrieve quantitative mixing ratio information on multiple absorbers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 October 2012
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8546, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence VIII, 85460H (30 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.974521
Show Author Affiliations
Neil A. MacLeod, Rutherford Appleton Lab. (United Kingdom)
Damien Weidmann, Rutherford Appleton Lab. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8546:
Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence VIII
Colin Lewis; Douglas Burgess, Editor(s)

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