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
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy