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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Long-Path OH Absorption Measurement

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

This concept uses a tunable fiber laser for active detection of OH.

The hydroxyl radical, OH, controls the lifetime of atmospheric gases like ozone, methane and halogenated hydrocarbons that impact human health and climate.  Despite its importance, remote measurements of OH in the lower atmosphere are extremely limited.  We propose to perform a proof of concept to demonstrate a new laser-based capability to measure OH with long path absorption spectroscopy.

We will build a proof of concept demonstration of an active laser system to detect OH with long path absorption.  The concept is similar to the differential hard-target LIDARS that measure CO2 and CH4 in the near-infrared. In these experiments a narrow linewidth laser is directed at a partially reflective surface in the far-field and a small fraction of the reflected light is detected. The laser is scanned to provide the differential absorption spectrum for a Beer's Law analysis that yields the column abundance of OH.

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