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  • Greenhouse Gas Lit Up with Lasers
Mar 2010
HERTFORDSHIRE, England, March 17, 2010 — Elliot Scientific has revealed video footage captured by scientists at the University of St. Andrews using M Squared Lasers' novel Firefly-IR laser showing greenhouse gas plumes.

The remote sensing, imaging and molecular spectroscopy capabilities of the new Firefly-IR laser system is shown of the company’s YouTube channel.

In this demonstration, the Firefly-IR laser reveals the presence of a notorious greenhouse gas - in this case methane - by using the gas molecule's characteristic of absorbing specific infrared wavelengths. Firefly-IR's wide tuning range (in this case tuned to 3.35µm), high-powered nanosecond pulses and high pulse repetition rate enabled the researchers to capture good quality video of the escaping gas cloud.

Elliot Scientific's video shows how methane, invisible to conventional video cameras under normal lighting conditions, cannot hide when the scene is illuminated by the Firefly-IR laser.

The Firefly-IR provides a unique blend of high brightness coverage of the near to mid-infrared wavelength regions and output power from a shoebox sized source, bringing new performance capabilities to a variety of scientific and industrial applications. Applications include:

• Spectroscopy and detection of greenhouse gases and hydrocarbons like CH4 & C2H6
• Security - Characterization and detection of explosives, drugs and bio-agents
• Medical diagnostics: p.p.m. breath monitoring
• Jet and combustion engine emissions reduction
• Oil exploration
• Molecular spectroscopy
• Eye-safe illumination and IR countermeasures

Firefly's high power and low beam divergence allows it to 'see' further in these applications, while a high pulse repetition rate enables rapid data acquisition. Combining all three allows recovery of signals more easily from any background noise, making the Firefly-IR ideal for video-rate imaging - a highly desirable alternative to basic 'yes/no' detection of hazardous substances in safety and security applications.

Firefly-IR is based on a novel intracavity OPO (optical parametric oscillator) design, integrated with a pulsed diode-pumped laser to offer wide tunability. A single Firefly-IR can cover the mid-IR wavelengths from ~ 2.4 to 4.7 microns, accessing the absorption features of many different molecular species.

For more information, visit:

remote sensing
Technique that utilizes electromagnetic energy to detect and quantify information about an object that is not in contact with the sensing apparatus.
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