Blanc Inter I SIMI 9 - Blanc International I - SIMI 9 - Sciences de l'ingénierie, matériaux, procédés, énergie

Next generation of Compact Infrared LAser based Sensor for environmental monitoring – NexCILAS

Submission summary

A current and critical challenge in science and engineering disciplines in the last decades has been the need to ensure sustainable global economic growth while at the same time reducing adverse effects due to global warming, and the negative impact on the environment and human health. Reliable, real time, cost effective monitoring instrumentation of changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere over extended period of time requires the implementation of a robust, sensitive, selective, accurate, and precise measurement infrastructure for monitoring trace concentration of atmospheric gases (greenhouse gases in particular).

In this context, we propose the development of the next generation of methane (CH4) optical sensor based on two innovative technologies requiring the integration of novel mid-infrared laser devices, that include distributed feedback (DFB) and Fabry-Perot (FP) Sb-based quantum cascade laser (QCL) /quantum well laser (QWL) emitting between 3 and 4 µm with a sensor platform based on quartz enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy (QEPAS). The proposed “laser-QEPAS” all integrated sensor system, referred to as NexCILAS sensor in the present proposal, must be robust, modular and autonomous for several near and long-term applications envisioned by the three collaborating teams: the Institut d’Electronique du Sud (IES) group of the Université Montpellier (UM) and Laboratoire de Physicochimie de l’Atmosphère (LPCA) of the Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale (ULCO) in France, as well as the Laser Science Group (LSG) at Rice University in the US. We propose to enhance the detection sensitivity of NexCILAS sensors by two orders of magnitude using an innovative optical power built-up cavity (OPBC) QEPAS scheme [Rossi 05] as well as a significant reduction of the current cost of the QEPAS detection modules by one order of magnitude based on a novel design approach that will employ CNC component machining and an efficient assembly technique.

Furthermore, the success of the proposed methane sensor project will provide innovative optical sensor platforms for other greenhouse gases, such as NO2 as well as other chemical trace gas species present in the atmosphere, such as H2CO, C2H2, C2H6 and HCl (Fig. 1). The sensor technology developed during the proposed project will have additional benefits for related industrial, agricultural, medical, and security applications not only in the 3-4 µm spectral region but throughout the 2-12 µm spectral region, or in the THz region. According to a recent 2010 survey published in Optics and Photonics News by the Optical Society of America, the market of mid-IR photonic and optoelectronic products (such as quantum cascade lasers and laser-based sensors) will triple in the next five years. Our proposed research will impact the development of these application areas.

Project coordinator


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 363,790 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2011 - 36 Months

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