The world’s smallest wavelength QCL ensures the mobility of all optical gas analyzers.

Hammamtsu, Japan, August 25, 2021: Hamamatsu Photonics and the National Institute of Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tokyo collaborate on an all-optical, portable gas control system to predict volcanic eruptions. In addition to stable, long-term monitoring of volcanic gases near volcanic eruptions, it can also be used to identify toxic gases in chemical plants and sewers and for atmospheric measurements.

The system contains a small, wavelength quantum cassette laser (QCL) built into the hammock. At around 1/150, the size of previous QCLs, laser is the smallest wavelength QCL in the world. The gas control system drive system developed by AIS allows the small QCL to be loaded into lightweight and portable analyzers that can carry any weight.


The world’s shortest wavelength QCL is only 1/150 times the size of the previous wavelength QCL. Hamamatsu Photonics KK and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Enterprise (NEDO)


Using Hamamsu’s existing micro-electromechanical system (MMS) technology, the developers completely redesigned the QCL’s MEMS distribution grid and reduced it to about 1/10 of the size of conventional grids. The team employed a small magnet designed to reduce unnecessary space and accurately assembled other 0.1 units into 0.1 μm units. The external dimensions of the QCL are 13 × 30 × 13 mm (W × D × H).

Wavelength: Sweep QCLs use the MEMS distribution grid that disperses, reflects, and transmits moderate infrared light as the wavelength changes rapidly. Hammamsu’s wavelength QCL can be adjusted in wavelengths from 7 to 8 μm. This region is easily swallowed by SO2 And H.2Volcanoes, which are thought to be the prediction of a volcanic eruption.

To achieve adjustable wavelengths, the researchers used quantum output technology. They used an anti-crossover two-state design for the QCL element light source layer.

Wavelength: Sweep QCL combined with the AIS-built driving system can achieve a wavelength of up to 20 mm in continuous infrared light. QCL’s high-speed explosion facilitates the analysis of temporary events that change rapidly over time. The QCL optical resolution is about 15 nm, and the maximum output is approximately 150 MW.

Most analysts now have electrochemical sensors used to detect and measure volcanic gases in real time. The electrodes in these sensors – and the performance of the analysis – deteriorated rapidly, due to exposure to toxic gas. All optical gas analysts use long lifespan and require little maintenance, but an optical light source can take up a lot of space. The size of these analysts makes it difficult to install near volcanoes.

The next-generation volcanic gas control system equipped with low-wavelength QCL provides high-sensitivity and easy-to-repair all-optical, compact, mobile compartment to volcanologists. Researchers and colleagues in Hamamatsu will continue to explore ways to increase sensitivity and reduce maintenance for AEST and the new Energy and Industrial Technology Development Agency (NEDO), which assisted with the project.

The team plans to perform multi-point observations to test and show the mobile analyst. Products that use QCL, which suspects wavelength, and use circuits in conjunction with Hammamtsu photochrometers. It is scheduled to be released in 2022.

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