Published in the journal Optics Letters, the researchers from the University’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and the School of Chemistry and Physics describe how they have been able to produce 25 times more light emission than other lasers operating at a similar wavelength – opening the way for detection of very low concentrations of gases.
“This laser has significantly more power and is much more efficient than other lasers operating in this frequency range,” says Ori Henderson-Sapir, PhD researcher. “Using a novel approach, we’ve been able to overcome the significant technical hurdles that have prevented fibre lasers from producing sufficient power in the mid-infrared.”
The new laser operates in the mid-infrared frequency range – the same wavelength band where many important hydrocarbon gases absorb light.
“Probing this region of the electromagnetic spectrum, with the high power we’ve achieved, means we will be able to detect these gases with a high degree of sensitivity,” says Project Leader Dr David Ottaway. “For instance, it should enable the possibility of analysing trace gases in exhaled breath in the doctors’ surgery.”
Research has shown that with various diseases, minute amounts of gases not normally exhaled can be detected in the breath; for example, acetone can be detected in the breath when someone has diabetes.
Other potential applications include detection in the atmosphere of methane and ethane which are important gases in global warming.
“The main limitation to date with laser detection of these gases has been the lack of suitable light sources that can produce enough energy in this part of the spectrum,” says Dr Ottaway. “The few available sources are generally expensive and bulky and, therefore, not suitable for widespread use.”
The new laser uses an optical fibre which is easier to work with, less bulky and more portable, and much more cost effective to produce than other types of laser.
The researchers, who also include Jesper Munch, Emeritus Professor of Experimental Physics, reported light emission at 3.6 microns – the deepest mid-infrared emission from a fibre laser operating at room temperature. They have also shown that the laser has the promise of efficient emission across a large wavelength spectrum from 3.3-3.8 micron.
“This means it has incredible potential for scanning for a range of gases with a high level of sensitivity, with great promise as a very useful diagnostic and sensing tool,” says Dr Ottaway.
This research was supported by the State Government through the Premiers Science Research Foundation (PSRF).Media Contact:
Robyn Mills | Newswise
Graphene microphone outperforms traditional nickel and offers ultrasonic reach
27.11.2015 | Institute of Physics
Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere
25.11.2015 | California Institute of Technology
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.
Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
25.11.2015 | Event News
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
27.11.2015 | Press release
27.11.2015 | Life Sciences
27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences