Environmental Monitoring

Lasers for Environmental Monitoring

Climate change is no longer a fringe issue, it’s a global priority. Accelerated by COP26, environmental monitoring is imperative in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve Net Zero. 

Greenhouse gas mitigation, however, is a complex operation for asset-intensive industries. In the energy and manufacturing sectors, combustion processes are commonplace, and emissions output is unavoidable. These industries require sustainable practices which are built upon autonomous and high-precision detector technologies, to comply within emissions quotas and regulatory frameworks.

Laser-based Emissions Detection

Laser-based remote sensing can detect hydrocarbon releases from manufacturing plants and in the surrounding atmosphere, to safeguard people, infrastructure and the environment.


Differential absorption LiDAR (DIAL) is recognised as one of the most advanced gas detection techniques. However, the technology occupies large areas of industrial space within facilities and is very expensive to operate and maintain.


Open-path FTIR spectroscopy supports the design of smaller, portable and affordable detection systems.

Tunable Laser Sources

Chromacity’s tunable ultrashort pulse lasers can generate broadband coherent light up to 12 µm, and this increases the capability of detection across a range of complex chemical signatures in solids, liquids and gases.


Coupled with interferometers and other sensory technology, optical parametric oscillators (OPOs) deliver a high brightness broadband light source which allows detection systems to identify and quantify multiple gases such as methane and ethane from range, and in real-time at higher resolution than traditional methods.


The Chromacity OPO is pumped by a robust 1-micron laser source (Chromacity 1040) which is integrated into the optical head of the OPO to maximise stability. Air-cooling functionality not only negates the need for water cooling infrastructure to regulate operating temperatures, but it also ensures a compact footprint allowing for enhanced portability.

Localised Emissions Detection

Portable detection systems have the advantage of being redeployed to monitor different infrastructure within the same plant. Predictive maintenance determines which infrastructure requires priority inspection, based on irregular performance indicators which are characteristic on an unplanned, and imminent, hydrocarbon release.


The flexibility to relocate a single portable detection system to make a swift diagnosis can reduce cost and maintenance requirements compared with installing multiple fixed devices. Fixed camera systems are often restricted to a ‘tilted head’ or partial-rotational field of view. The detection area, and range, tend to be considerably less because these cameras are based on single photon detection technology and deliver low resolution information compared with an FTIR system that incorporates a broadband OPO laser source.


Faster data acquisition of high-resolution information is vital in risk-to-life environments. In localised settings, OPO technology can help detect concentrations of dangerous gases in inaccessible areas using fiber delivery. An FTIR solution, using OPO technology, can quantify absorbents, (Monoethanolamine), which is used to neutralise harmful gases (like carbon dioxide) and to detect carcinogenic substances in enclosed spaces, without the risk of exposure.

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Light from a single OPO can also be deployed to feed multiple detectors, simultaneously, using fiber delivery. This establishes a perimeter detection system capable of 24/7 continuous monitoring. This stand-off detection technique augments localised gas monitoring, at manufacturing plants and refineries, with a more holistic and hands-off approach towards leak identification and emissions management.


Fence-line detection systems are now deployed in agricultural settings, landfill monitoring and low emissions zones within cities, as global objectives to reduce emissions pave the way for a new green industrial revolution.


Are you developing a gas detection system and sourcing lasers for environmental monitoring? To learn more about our ultrafast OPO technology, email: sales@chromacitylasers.com


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