SBIR/STTR Phase I:Development of a high precision, autonomous quantum cascade laser-based detector for methane and nitrous oxide

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Aerodyne Research Inc
45 Manning Road, Billerica, MA, 01821
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
David Nelson
(978) 663-9500
Business Contact:
() -
Research Institution:
This Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to develop a compact and autonomous, high precision monitor for the potent greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide. This proposal is submitted under the Geoscience Instrumentation subtopic (subtopic E) of the Electronics topic. The target molecules are currently detected with cw lead salt diode lasers. These lasers require cryogenic cooling and, due to their lack of long term stability, a highly trained operator. Quantum cascade (QC) lasers are spectroscopically stable and can be operated near room temperature when they are pulsed. This allows the design of compact, rugged, inexpensive and autonomous molecular monitors. This system is further simplified by detecting both methane and nitrous with a single QC laser using nearly coincident transitions near 1300 mm . The Phase I research objectives will be to demonstrate that the required sensitivity and specificity can be obtained in this spectral region using a pulsed QC laser and non-cryogenic infrared detectors. The Phase I research will produce a preliminary design for an instrument to be constructed during Phase II. The resulting turn-key monitor will address the widespread need to monitor these important species in a sensitive and cost-effective manner. Potential commercial applications for this research include 1) the research market attempting to quantify the worldwide sources and sinks of greenhouse gases, 2) the market for trading credits for greenhouse gas emission reductions which requires quantitative documentation of these reductions, 3) the market for goods and services able to identify and locate leaks in natural gas distribution systems and 4) various research markets needing to quantify methane and/or nitrous oxide concentrations or emissions in both laboratory and field settings.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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