Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny Laser Arrays For Sensitive Chemical Detection

Date:
April 25, 2008
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
Early miners used to carry canaries into coal mines because the birds were sensitive to certain gasses. Modern chemical analysis does the same thing, though much more powerfully. For instance, infrared spectroscopy can detect even trace amounts of a wide range of chemicals, including toxic components of hazardous waste or chemical weapons, because many chemicals absorb light in the mid-infrared band.

Early miners used to carry canaries into coal mines because the birds were sensitive to certain gasses. Modern chemical analysis does the same thing, though much more powerfully. For instance, infrared spectroscopy can detect even trace amounts of a wide range of chemicals, including toxic components of hazardous waste or chemical weapons, because many chemicals absorb light in the mid-infrared band.

Related Articles


Now Federico Capasso and his colleagues at Harvard University are developing a new type of infrared spectrometer that could be just as powerful as these bulky instruments yet fit inside a shoe box. Instead of using thermal sources for infrared rays, a team lead by Capasso, his student Benjamin G. Lee, and his postdoctoral fellow Mikhail A. Belkin, has built one of these instruments, which is powered by a tiny array of infrared quantum cascade lasers on a chip smaller than a dime.

The chip holds an array of 32 lasers, each emitting a distinct wavelength and together covering a broad spectral range in the infrared region. The researchers' new paper demonstrates that their device could identify common chemicals as well as a conventional tabletop instrument, which has a much larger footprint. It is the first time that a laser of this type, capable of such performance, has been reported.

The advantage of using a laser source is that lasers are much brighter than thermal sources thus providing a higher signal-to-noise ratio. The lasers can also be fine-tuned to provide wavelengths on demand to scan accurately for chemicals of interest--akin to having thousands of canaries, each capable of detecting a range of chemicals.

The study"Continuously Tunable Compact Single-Mode Quantum Cascade Laser Source for Chemical Sensing" was presented at the 2008 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference (CLEO/QELS) May 4-9 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "Tiny Laser Arrays For Sensitive Chemical Detection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422155058.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2008, April 25). Tiny Laser Arrays For Sensitive Chemical Detection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422155058.htm
Optical Society of America. "Tiny Laser Arrays For Sensitive Chemical Detection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422155058.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins