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FY 2005 Laser Development Final Report

Description: The Laser Development Task of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL) Remote Spectroscopy project (PL211I) is focused on the development of novel laser technology for a new generation of standoff and in-situ chemical sensors for detecting the proliferation of nuclear weapons. These lasers will improve the sensitivity, flexibility, or range of active standoff sensors, enable ultra-trace in situ sensors with enhanced selectivity, as well as greatly improve calibration of passive standoff sensors. In particular, laser transmitters with minimal size, weight, and power consumption (SWAP) are needed to meet the requirements for a variety of in situ or short-range stand-off sensors and sensors for small UAVs or other platforms. These laser transmitters need to be rugged and free of requirements for consumables such as liquid nitrogen. Many sensing techniques also require lasers that produce a single narrow wavelength (single longitudinal mode). Lasers that provide high continuous-wave (CW) output power on a single line at operating temperatures accessible with thermoelectric (TE) cooling are therefore essential for sensor applications.
Date: December 1, 2005
Creator: Phillips, Mark C.; Myers, Tanya L. & Taubman, Matthew S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Long Wave Infrared Cavity Enhanced Sensors

Description: The principal goal of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL's) long wave infrared (LWIR) cavity enhanced sensor (CES) task is to explore ultra-sensitive spectroscopic chemical sensing techniques and apply them to detecting proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Our primary application is detecting signatures of WMD production, but LWIR CES techniques are also capable of detecting chemical weapons. The LWIR CES task is concerned exclusively with developing novel point sensors; stand-off detection is addressed by other PNNL tasks and projects. PNNL's LWIR CES research is distinguished from that done by others by the use quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) as the light source. QCLs are novel devices, and a significant fraction of our research has been devoted to developing the procedures and hardware required to implement them most effectively for chemical sensing. This report details the progress we have made on LWIR CES sensor development.
Date: December 1, 2005
Creator: Taubman, Matthew S.; Scott, David C.; Cannon, Bret D.; Myers, Tanya L.; Munley, John T.; Nguyen, Vinh T. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Long Wave Infrared Detection of Chemical Weapons Simulants

Description: The purpose of Task 3.b under PL02-OP211I-PD07 (CBW simulant detection) was to demonstrate the applicability of the sensor work developed under this project for chemical and biological weapons detection. To this end, the specific goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of detection of chemical agents via that of simulants (Freons) with similar spectroscopic features. This has been achieved using Freon-125 as a simulant, a tunable external cavity quantum cascade laser (ECQCL), and a Herriott cell-based sensor developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) specifically for this task. The experimentally obtained spectrum of this simulant matches that found in the Northwest Infrared (NWIR) spectral library extremely well, demonstrating the ability of this technique to detect the exact shape of this feature, which in turn indicates the ability to recognize the simulant even in the presence of significant interference. It has also been demonstrated that the detected features of a typical interferent, namely water, are so different in shape and width to the simulant, that they are easily recognized and separated from such a measurement. Judging from the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the experimental data obtained, the noise equivalent absorption sensitivity is estimated to be 0.5 x 10-7 to 1 x 10-6 cm-1. For the particular feature of the simulant examined in this work, this corresponds to a relative concentration of 50 to 25 parts-per-billion by volume (ppbv). The corresponding relative concentrations of other chemical targets would differ depending on the particular transition strengths, and would thus have to be scaled accordingly.
Date: April 27, 2007
Creator: Phillips, Mark C.; Taubman, Matthew S.; Scott, David C.; Myers, Tanya L.; Munley, John T. & Cannon, Bret D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Progress Report on Frequency - Modulated Differential Absorption Lidar

Description: Modeling done at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in FY2000 predicted improved sensitivity for remote chemical detection by differential absorption lidar (DIAL) if frequency-modulated (FM) lasers were used. This improved sensitivity results from faster averaging away of speckle noise and the recently developed quantum cascade (QC) lasers offer the first practical method for implementing this approach in the molecular fingerprint region of the infrared. To validate this model prediction, a simple laboratory bench FM-DIAL system was designed, assembled, tested, and laboratory-scale experiments were carried out during FY2001. Preliminary results of the FM DIAL experiments confirm the speckle averaging advantages predicted by the models. In addition, experiments were performed to explore the use of hybrid QC - CO2 lasers for achieving sufficient frequency-modulated laser power to enable field experiments at longer ranges (up to one kilometer or so). This approach will allow model validation at realistic ranges much sooner than would be possible if one had to first develop master oscillator - power amplifier systems utilizing only QC devices. Amplification of a QC laser with a CO2 laser was observed in the first hybrid laser experiments, but the low gain and narrow linewidth of the CO2 laser available for these experiments prevented production of a high-power FM laser beam.
Date: December 15, 2001
Creator: Cannon, Bret D.; Harper, Warren W.; Myers, Tanya L.; Taubman, Matthew S.; Williams, Richard M. & Schultz, John F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ultra-Trace Chemical Sensing with Long-Wave Infrared Cavity-Enhanced Spectroscopic Sensors

Description: The infrared sensors task of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL's) Remote Spectroscopy Project (Task B of Project PL211) is focused on the science and technology of remote and in-situ spectroscopic chemical sensors for detecting proliferation and coun-tering terrorism. Missions to be addressed by remote chemical sensor development in-clude detecting proliferation of nuclear or chemical weapons, and providing warning of terrorist use of chemical weapons. Missions to be addressed by in-situ chemical sensor development include countering terrorism by screening luggage, personnel, and shipping containers for explosives, firearms, narcotics, chemical weapons, or chemical weapons residues, and mapping contaminated areas. The science and technology is also relevant to chemical weapons defense, air operations support, monitoring emissions from chemi-cal weapons destruction or industrial activities, law enforcement, medical diagnostics, and other applications. Sensors for most of these missions will require extreme chemical sensitivity and selectiv-ity because the signature chemicals of importance are expected to be present in low con-centrations or have low vapor pressures, and the ambient air is likely to contain pollutants or other chemicals with interfering spectra. Cavity-enhanced chemical sensors (CES) that draw air samples into optical cavities for laser-based interrogation of their chemical content promise real-time, in-situ chemical detection with extreme sensitivity to specified target molecules and superb immunity to spectral interference and other sources of noise. PNNL is developing CES based on quantum cascade (QC) lasers that operate in the mid-wave infrared (MWIR - 3 to 5 microns) and long-wave infrared (LWIR - 8 to 14 mi-crons), and CES based on telecommunications lasers operating in the short-wave infrared (SWIR - 1 to 2 microns). All three spectral regions are promising because smaller mo-lecular absorption cross sections in the SWIR are offset by the superior performance, ma-turity, and robustness of SWIR lasers, detectors, and other components, while the reverse is true for ...
Date: February 20, 2003
Creator: Taubman, Matthew S.; Myers, Tanya L.; Cannon, Bret D.; Williams, Richard M. & Schultz, John F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department