Field-deployable, small, ultra-sensitive, battery-powered laser spectrometer for toxic chemical detection

Period of Performance: 12/18/2008 - 12/18/2010

$730K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Translume
655 Phoenix Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Translume will design, fabricate and demonstrate a robust, field-compatible, laser spectrometer. This instrument will measure the light intensity transmitted through a chemical sample over a portion of the infrared spectrum in order to make the identification. Our spectrometer will be formed of a narrow linewidth tunable light source combined to a broadband detector. This is a common design found in numerous laboratories around the world. This design is however only occasionally seen outside laboratory settings. Traditional spectrometers cannot be used directly for the applications of interest due to their size, power consumption, and overall fragility. Specifically, commonly used light sources, including laser sources, are unable to meet one or several key requirements associated with the envisioned applications. Thus, we will develop a novel hybrid fiber-waveguide laser, which will be tunable over a wide range of wavelengths and have a narrow linewidth. This hybrid fiber-waveguide laser should meet all of the light source requirements associated with field-based, ultra-sensitive, chemical detection. We will measure the overall system sensitivity to selected chemicals and will establish the limiting noise source. Using the appropriate recognition algorithm, we will determine the variance possible in source parameters vs. false alarm rate.