Remote Trace Chemical Sensing

Information at the Speed of Light
Mid Infrared Sensors for Standoff, Trace Chemical Analysis

IMS has developed a trace chemical sensing platform enabling precise environmental chemical fingerprinting utilizing mid infrared spectroscopic techniques.  By combining in-house built MCT, Mid-Infrared detectors with QCLs (Quantum Cascade Lasers) standoff chemical analyses can be performed at standoff distances with automated, real-time monitoring capabilities. The IMS Mid-Infrared Detection platform allows for parts-per-trillion detection of various chemical species.  Intelligent Material Solutions, Inc. is currently developing application specific platforms and user interfaces in various industries such as Oil & Gas, Healthcare/Wellness, Authentication, among others. 
Capitalizing on the expertise of environmental sensing with quantum cascade lasers and mid-infrared crystal detectors the IMS team has developed a variety of custom portable sensors for trace chemical analysis of CO, H2S, water, NH3, and many other compounds.  Every sensor platform is made in-house, to each customers’ specific operating conditions and target compounds.   Custom designed user interfaces provide real-time analysis and seamless connectivity between sensor networks. IMS has established an interdisciplinary network of innovative scientists and program leaders who are dedicated to exceeding customer expectations by quickly advancing research and development starting with a technological need and idea to working prototype and final scalable product.

Portable Sensors and Standoff Detection
IMS and its collaborators have developed an open-path QCL based gas sensor for environmental, biomedical and CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Rdiological Nuclear) defense for homeland security applications.  

Open path sampling configurations have many advantages such as:
  • Increased accuracy & response rate; minimize sampling problems common with CBRN agents.
  • Portability by lowering the power/size/mass requirements as pump is not required.
  • Capability of stand-off detection as no sample cell is needed.

The high optical power of QCLs, coupled with high-sensitivity detectors & algorithms, allows for long-path measurements and standoff detection.  In one study performed using an IMS Methane sensor, a QCL laser beam was directed across an Arctic lake and reflected back to the detector.  Total distances from 0.5-1.2km were successfully measured across the lake with a precision of 0.5% (10 ppb). The system operated continuously & autonomously in the Arctic environment, even during an August snowstorm.
Air-borne Sensors
IMS has pioneered airborne-based sensor systems on both manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.  The image below shows a methane and carbon dioxide sensor mounted on a Gulfstream-V aircraft.  Real-time monitoring with exceptional sensitivity was achieved with this design with a total sensor mass of 2kg and power consumption of 2W.