Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Designing an ultrasensitive ’optical nose’ for chemicals

11.11.2004


A laser-based method for identifying a single atom or molecule hidden among 10 trillion others soon may find its way from the laboratory to the real world.



Developed by physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the technique is believed to be more than 1,000 times more sensitive than conventional methods. Vescent Photonics of Denver, Colo., hopes to commercialize the method as an "optical nose" for atmospheric monitoring. The portable sensors would rapidly identify chemicals in a gas sample based on the frequencies of light they absorb. Other applications eventually may include detection of chemical weapons and land mines, patient breath analysis for medical diagnosis or monitoring, and industrial detection of leaks in subterranean pipes or storage tanks, the company says.

Vescent recently signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with NIST. The company will work with NIST physicist Jun Ye (co-developer of the technology) to apply the public domain "optical nose" technique to detecting and quantifying trace quantities of atmospheric gases. Ye works at JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado at Boulder.


The technique is a product of years of work and several innovations by NIST scientists. A gas sample is placed in an optical cavity containing two highly reflective mirrors. An infrared laser beam is directed into the cavity, where the light bounces back and forth many times. The repeated reflections increase the path length on which laser light will interact with gas molecules in the sample. In addition, the laser frequency is quickly and systematically varied in a way that enables scientists to observe and subtract background noise from the signal.

The approach allows analysis of gases that are present in minute concentrations and at very low pressures, which may enable identification of compounds such as explosives that are difficult to detect by other means.

Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>