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Abstract: Handheld Laser-Based Sensor for Remote Detection of Toxic and Hazardous Gases

Michael B. Frish, Michael A. White, Mark G. Allen, "Handheld Laser-Based Sensor for Remote Detection of Toxic and Hazardous Gases," presented at SPIE Water, Ground and Air Pollution Monitoring Conference (Boston, MA), (5-8 November 2000).

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This paper was published in Water, Ground and Air Pollution Monitoring, Boston, MA, 5-8 November 2000 and is made available as an electronic reprint with permission of SPIE. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.

Abstract

A new optical tool, which will help petrochemical refinery and chemical processing plant personnel locate the source of a toxic or hazardous gas leak while remaining outside the perimeter of the processing area, has been demonstrated. This sensor is capable of locating leaks from a distance of about 20 m, with a response time of less than 1 second. By enhancing the speed with which leaks can be located, the risk of an incipient failure becoming a catastrophic failure is reduced significantly. The tool is based on Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS). TDLAS is currently being utilized in these industrial environments in permanently-installed open-path configurations to sense releases of selected gases as they exit the processing area. The sensor described here combines a lightweight, portable optical transceiver with battery-operated electronics in a single hand-held package. By standing in a safe area and 'shining' the eye-safe laser beam emanating from this device onto suspected leak sources, operators may rapidly isolate the source while minimizing their potential exposure to the hazard. The sensor can be configured to sense leaks resulting in path-integrated concentrations of, for example, 2 ppm-m of hydrogen fluoride, 200 ppm-m of hydrogen sulfide, or 10 ppm-m of methane.

Keywords

TDLAS   spectroscopy   lasers   leak detection   methane   gas   sensors  

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