A document discusses an optical carbon monoxide sensor for early fire detection. During the sensor development, a concept was implemented to allow reliable carbon monoxide detection in the presence of interfering absorption signals.

Methane interference is present in the operating wavelength range of the developed prototype sensor for carbon monoxide detection. The operating parameters of the prototype sensor have been optimized so that interference with methane is minimized. In addition, simultaneous measurement of methane is implemented, and the instrument automatically corrects the carbon monoxide signal at high methane concentrations. This is possible because VCSELs (vertical cavity surface emitting lasers) with extended current tuning capabilities are implemented in the optical device. The tuning capabilities of these new laser sources are sufficient to cover the wavelength range of several absorption lines. The delivered carbon monoxide sensor (COMA 1) reliably measures low carbon monoxide levels even in the presence of high methane signals. The signal bleedover is determined during system calibration and is then accounted for in the system parameters. The sensor reports carbon monoxide concentrations reliably for (interfering) methane concentrations up to several thousand parts per million.

This work was done by Joerg Kutzner of Vista Photonics, Inc. for Glenn Research Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. LEW-18783-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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