Low-Cost, Fiber-Optic Hydrogen Gas Detector Using Guided-Wave, Surface-Plasmon Resonance in Chemochromic Thin Films

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Low-cost, hydrogen-gas-leak detectors are needed for many hydrogen applications, such as hydrogen-fueled vehicles where several detectors may be required in different locations on each vehicle. A fiber-optic leak detector could be inherently safer than conventional detectors, because it would remove all detector electronics from the vicinity of potential leaks. It would also provide freedom from electromagnetic interference, a serious problem in fuel-cell-powered electric vehicles. This paper describes the design of a fiber-optic, surface-plasmon-resonance hydrogen detector, and efforts to make it more sensitive, selective, and durable. Chemochromic materials, such as tungsten oxide and certain Lanthanide hydrides, can reversibly react with hydrogen ... continued below

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Benson, D. K.; Tracy, C. E.; Lee, S-H. (National Renewable Energy Laboratory); Hishmeh, G. A.; Haberman, D. P. (DCH Technologies, Valencia, CA) & Ciszek, P. A. (Evergreen Solar, Waltham, MA) October 20, 1998.

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Low-cost, hydrogen-gas-leak detectors are needed for many hydrogen applications, such as hydrogen-fueled vehicles where several detectors may be required in different locations on each vehicle. A fiber-optic leak detector could be inherently safer than conventional detectors, because it would remove all detector electronics from the vicinity of potential leaks. It would also provide freedom from electromagnetic interference, a serious problem in fuel-cell-powered electric vehicles. This paper describes the design of a fiber-optic, surface-plasmon-resonance hydrogen detector, and efforts to make it more sensitive, selective, and durable. Chemochromic materials, such as tungsten oxide and certain Lanthanide hydrides, can reversibly react with hydrogen in air while exhibiting significant changes in their optical properties. Thin films of these materials applied to a sensor at the end of an optical fiber have been used to detect low concentrations of hydrogen gas in air. The coatings include a thin silver layer in which the surface plasmon is generated, a thin film of the chemochromic material, and a catalytic layer of palladium that facilitates the reaction with hydrogen. The film thickness is chosen to produce a guided-surface plasmon wave along the interface between the silver and the chemochromic material. A dichroic beam-splitter separates the reflected spectrum into a portion near the resonance and a portion away from the resonance, and directs these two portions to two separate photodiodes. The electronic ratio of these two signals cancels most of the fiber transmission noise and provides a stable hydrogen signal.

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  • Presented at the Photonics East Symposium, Boston, MA (US), 11/01/1998--11/05/1998

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  • Other: DE00006589
  • Report No.: NREL/CP-590-25611
  • Grant Number: AC36-99GO10337
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 6589
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc702824

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  • October 20, 1998

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • March 28, 2016, 8:19 p.m.

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Benson, D. K.; Tracy, C. E.; Lee, S-H. (National Renewable Energy Laboratory); Hishmeh, G. A.; Haberman, D. P. (DCH Technologies, Valencia, CA) & Ciszek, P. A. (Evergreen Solar, Waltham, MA). Low-Cost, Fiber-Optic Hydrogen Gas Detector Using Guided-Wave, Surface-Plasmon Resonance in Chemochromic Thin Films, article, October 20, 1998; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc702824/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.