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Appl Opt. 2003 Aug 20;42(24):4901-8.

Remote photoacoustic detection of liquid contamination of a surface.

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  • 1Sensors and Electronics Division, Qinetiq Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3PS, UK. bjperrett@qinetiq.com


A method for the remote detection and identification of liquid chemicals at ranges of tens of meters is presented. The technique uses pulsed indirect photoacoustic spectroscopy in the 10-microm wavelength region. Enhanced sensitivity is brought about by three main system developments: (1) increased laser-pulse energy (150 microJ/pulse), leading to increased strength of the generated photoacoustic signal; (2) increased microphone sensitivity and improved directionality by the use of a 60-cm-diameter parabolic dish; and (3) signal processing that allows improved discrimination of the signal from noise levels through prior knowledge of the pulse shape and pulse-repetition frequency. The practical aspects of applying the technique in a field environment are briefly examined, and possible applications of this technique are discussed.

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