The world’s smallest wavelength-swept quantum cascade laser (QCL), mountable in small spaces as a light source designed for portable volcanic gas monitoring systems

20 August 2021

By leveraging our unique micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) technology and optical mounting technology, Hamamatsu Photonics have newly designed and developed the world’s smallest wavelength-swept quantum cascade laser (QCL) to a size that is a mere 1/150th that of previous products!

This breakthrough stems from the “Development of sensing technology for detecting extremely weak signals to realize an IoT society” project supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan’s largest national research and development agency. Combining this new QCL with a drive system developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) will help achieve high-speed operation and simplify the peripheral circuit design, allowing it to be mounted into equipment as a light source in portable analyzers. This will make the analyzers small and lightweight enough to carry anywhere.

This project also aims to increase analyzer sensitivity for detecting sulfur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as well as simplifying maintenance. Doing so, will allow its use in applications for stable long-term monitoring of volcanic gas components near the craters of volcanoes. Other promising applications include detecting toxic gas leaks in chemical plants and sewers as well as making atmospheric measurements.

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