Urban open-air chemical sensing using a mobile quantum cascade laser dual-comb spectrometer

Jonas Westberg, Chu C. Teng, Yifeng Chen, Jie Liu, Link Patrick, Linhan Shen, Michael Soskind, Gerard Wysocki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Detection of airborne chemical releases in densely populated urban environments requires precise sensors with high temporal and spatial resolution capable of covering large areas. For this purpose, we present a mobile mid-infrared quantum cascade laser dual-comb spectrometer for identification and quantification of chemical plumes. Field tests with the remote sensor were conducted during daytime in the downtown Boston area over a five day period during which chemical releases were simulated by intermittently emitting non-toxic substances. Open-air sensing was performed with retroreflectors positioned at up to 230 m distance and with sensitivities in the ppm m range for one second of averaging time. The field campaign demonstrates a step toward a semiconductor dual-comb spectroscopic sensor in the mid-infrared fingerprint region, suitable for long-term deployments. These types of sensors will be valuable complements to existing optical sensors for urban hazardous gas leak monitoring, air quality assessments, and localization of clandestine chemical production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120803
JournalAPL Photonics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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