Compact device has sensitive nose for greenhouse gases
Rice University laser scientists create portable sensor for nitrous oxide, methane
Rice University scientists have created a highly sensitive portable sensor to test the air for the most damaging greenhouse gases.
The device created by Rice engineer and laser pioneer Frank Tittel and his group uses a thumbnail-sized quantum cascade laser (QCL) as well as tuning forks that cost no more than a dime to detect very small amounts of nitrous oxide and methane.
The QCL emits light from the mid- to far-infrared portion of the spectrum. That allows for far better detection of gases than more common lasers that operate in the near-infrared.