The SensHy project focuses on the development of novel photonic gas sensors based on tunable diode laser spectroscopy (TDLS) for the detection of hydrocarbons.
Hydrocarbons can be detected most sensitively in the 3.0 to 3.6 µm.wavelength range.
A new class of tunable mid infrared (MIR) laser sources with performance presently unattainable will
be realized in this wavelength range. These MIR laser devices will be used for the subsequent development
of photonic sensor systems for highly sensitive hydrocarbons detection based on their characteristic
fundamental transitions in the MIR. By using the fundamental transitions instead of presently used
overtones different hydrocarbons can be more easily distinguished and the sensitivity can be
increased by several orders of magnitude. Particular challenging applications with significant
market potential are investigated within the SensHy project (portable methane sensing as well
as industrial process control of aliphatic hydrocarbons such as propene and propane).
Here the detection is hampered by the presence of different gas constituents within a general
hydrocarbon gas matrix, requiring the development of innovative signal-processing techniques
in combination with the fabricated tunable laser sources. Significant improvements have to be
attained in various fields from epitaxial semiconductor growth to laser processing to MIR sensor
development, to achieve the challenging goals of the project.
Key European players in semiconductor laser material development, laser source design and processing
and laser based gas detection are collaborating in the SensHy consortium.