Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Laser device can detect alcohol in cars, say authors in Journal of Applied Remote Sensing


External device detects presence of alcohol vapors inside of a moving car

A new open-access article in the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing is garnering attention for research that could aid in the campaign to prevent drunk driving: a device that can detect alcohol in cars. The Journal of Applied Remote Sensing is published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

The article "Stand-off detection of alcohol in car cabins," by Jarosław Młyńczak, Jan Kubicki, and Krzysztof Kopczyński of the Military University of Technology in Warsaw, details experiments using an external laser device to detect the presence of alcohol vapors inside of a moving car. The device was constructed at the university's Institute of Optoelectronics based on previous research from a 2013 paper by the same authors.

Stand-off detection is a chemical and biological compound identification method using a laser that takes place at a distance from people to reduce the potential for damage. The authors note that the use of stand-off detection for chemical identification is already described in many papers, but that developments in the types of lasers that can be used in this application have been made in recent years, including "eye-safe" microchip lasers.

"This work illustrates how remote sensing technologies affect our everyday life," said Marco Gianinetto of the Politecnico di Milano, an associate editor with the journal. "We all are already familiar with laser instruments used by the police for speed-limit enforcement. Now these researchers have demonstrated how a laser device could be effectively used for detecting drunken drivers and thereby helping to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. In the future, a similar technology may be developed to detect different chemical compounds, enabling the detection of drivers under the influence of other intoxicants."

The use of the device is simple: The laser system is set up on the side of the road to monitor each car that passes by. If alcohol vapors are detected in the car, a message with a photo of the car including its number plate is sent to a police officer waiting down the road. Then, the police officer stops the car and checks for signs of alcohol using conventional tests.

The authors note that the device would likely also identify cars where the driver is sober but the passengers are not, or if there is spilled alcohol in the car, but that the device "will surely decrease the number of cars that have to be checked by police and, at the same time, will increase efficacy of stopping drunken drivers."

The device was tested with a car deployed on the road while the laser stayed in the laboratory next to an open window, making it possible to extensively monitor the device.

The researchers simulated alcohol vapor coming from a human lung by evaporating a water solution of alcohol of an appropriate concentration and at an appropriate temperature. The results showed that the presence of alcohol vapors was detected at concentrations of 0.1% and greater.

"From the practical point of view, there seem to be some countermeasures, such as driving with windows open, solar screens on the side windows, etc., that can be applied by drivers to deceive the system," the authors wrote in their conclusion. "However, such situations are very easily detected by the system, which sends this information to the policeman indicating that the car should be checked."

Other issues, including driving with air-conditioning or fans, will be investigated in the next stages of the ongoing project, as well as addressing commercialization concerns including creating a device that is more compact, robust and user-friendly.


The Journal of Applied Remote Sensing is published under Editor-in-Chief Ni-Bin Chang, University of Central Florida, in the SPIE Digital Library, which contains nearly 400,000 articles from SPIE journals, proceedings, and books, with approximately 18,000 new research papers added each year. Abstracts are freely searchable, and an increasing number of full journal articles are published with open access.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 256,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided more than $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2013.

Amy Nelson | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Laser Photonics SPIE air-conditioning alcohol concentrations conventional lasers optics technologies

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA
27.10.2016 | University of Oklahoma

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>