Air Laser to Combat Bombs, Pollutants, Greenhouse Gasses

01/31/2011 |

A new air laser will potentially be useful fighting bombs, pollutants, and greenhouse gasses

Princeton University engineers have developed an air laser sensing technology that can potentially be used to detect bombs at a distance and measure airborne pollutants and greenhouse gasses.

"We are able to send a laser pulse out and get another pulse back from the air itself," says Richard Miles, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton, the research group leader and co-author on the paper. "The returning beam interacts with the molecules in the air and carries their finger prints."

The air laser uses an ultraviolet laser pulse focused on a tiny patch of air.  Researchers will use a sensor to receive the returning beam and be able to determine what it encountered on the way back.  This so-called “air laser” will be able to detect how many contaminants are in the air and also the identity and location of the contaminants.

Air laser technology could prove instrumental in the discovery of greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants.

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