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Portable remote Raman system for monitoring hydrocarbon, gas hydrates and explosives in the environment.

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Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.


We report our initial efforts to use a small portable Raman system for stand-off detection and identification of various types of organic chemicals including benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes (BTEX). Both fiber-optic (FO) coupled and a directly coupled f/2.2 spectrograph with the telescope have been developed and tested. A frequency-doubled Nd:YAG pulsed laser (20 Hz, 532 nm, 35 mJ/pulse) is used as the excitation source. The operational range of the FO coupled Raman system was tested to 66 m, and the directly coupled system was tested to a distance of 120 m. We have also measured remote Raman spectra of compressed methane gas and methane gas hydrate. The usefulness of the remote Raman system for identifying unknown compounds is demonstrated by measuring stand-off spectra of two plastic explosives, e.g. tri-amino tri-nitrobenzene (TATB) and beta-HMX at 10 m stand-off distance. The remote Raman system will be useful for terrestrial applications such as monitoring environmental pollution, in identifying unknown materials in public places in 10s or less, and for detecting hydrocarbon plumes and gas hydrates on planetary surfaces such as Mars.

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