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
Interstellar seeds could create oases of life
28.08.2015 | Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Draw out of the predicted interatomic force
28.08.2015 | Hiroshima University
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...
A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...
In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.
These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...
Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.
For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...
It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.
Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...
20.08.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
19.08.2015 | Event News
28.08.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
28.08.2015 | Health and Medicine
28.08.2015 | Life Sciences