Detection of Air Pollutants with Tunable Diode Lasers

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Science  19 Feb 1971:
Vol. 171, Issue 3972, pp. 635-639
DOI: 10.1126/science.171.3972.635


Preliminary experiments indicate that tunable Pb1-xSnxTe diode lasers will be useful in the identification and sensitive detection of most of the atmospheric pollutant gases. For point-sampling applications, concentrations in the parts-per-billion range should be measurable with very high specificity. For long-range atmospheric transmission techniques, the improved resolution capability and tunability of these diode lasers make them attractive replacements for spectrometers and fixed-frequency laser sources where operation at cryogenic temperatures is not a serious impediment. By using these lasers as tunable local oscillators in the infrared heterodyne configuration, remote passive detection of gases present in smokestack effluent appears possible. Finally, pulsed operation at temperatures available with simple cryogenic coolers permits immediate application to the fast detection of gases present in automobile exhaust and in chemical processing plants.