- Laser Technique Sniffs Out Pollutants
While many factors can diminish a city's quality of life, one literally
takes residents breath away: smog. Traffic, industrial pollution, weather
patterns and geography can turn a perfectly lovely city into a very hazy
place. Cleaning the air requires a clear understanding of the pollution's
sources, and photonics offers a number of techniques that can provide some
The metropolitan area surounding Athens, Greece, is among the world's
cities with a summer smog problem. In 1994, the European research project
Mediterranean Campaign of Photochemical Tracers EM DASH Transport and
Chemical Evolution visited Athens to measure the air quality and observe
the city's meteorology. The researchers hoped to improve and verify the
meteorological and atmospheric models that work on a micro- and mesoscale.
Among their techniques was a laser-based method that provided useful
information about source pollutants: differential absorption lidar.
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