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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Airborne Multi-Gas Sensor

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Airborne Multi-Gas Sensor
Mesa Photonics has developed laser-based gas sensor technology compatible with UAV deployment. Our Airborne MUlti-Gas Sensor (AMUGS) technology is based upon two-tone frequency-modulated spectroscopy (TT-FMS). TT-FMS retains the advantages of near-infrared diode lasers while pushing detection sensitivity more than two orders of magnitude closer to the theoretical limit. Phase I results demonstrated that lightweight, low-power near-infrared systems can deliver sensitivity competitive with mid-infrared gas analyzers. This factor is important for UAV deployment because near-infrared systems that use fiber optic telecommunications components are robust, versatile, and cost-effective. AMUGS uses an open path optical cell that is lighter and more robust than instruments based on cavity-enhanced spectroscopy methods. In, Sensitivity demonstrated in Phase I was a factor of 5-10x better than its nearest competing techniques. Benchtop TT-FMS delivered sensitivities at 10 Hz of 5 ppm for CO2 and 12 ppb for CH4. Precision improved to 1.5 ppm for CO2 and 3.3 ppb for CH4 with 1 sec of signal averaging. The Phase II target is to design and build a flight-ready TT-FMS prototype that maintains or exceeds this benchtop detection precision. The AMUGS prototype will meet 5 kg and 50 W targets and will be flown on an all-electric model aircraft at the University of Texas at Dallas. This airborne testing will provide critical information that will help further development and commercialization of the AMUGS technology. More »

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