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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 37, Iss. 18 — Jun. 20, 1998
  • pp: 3912–3922

Development of a pulsed backscatter-absorption gas-imaging system and its application to the visualization of natural gas leaks

Thomas J. Kulp, Peter Powers, Randall Kennedy, and Uta-Barbara Goers  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 37, Issue 18, pp. 3912-3922 (1998)

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The design and evaluation of a backscatter-absorption gas-imaging sensor that operates in a pulsed mode is described. It is capable of video visualization of natural gas leaks. Its development was motivated by the need for a methane imaging system to operate at ranges and sensitivities useful to the natural gas industry. The imager employs pulsed laser illumination at a repetition rate of 30 Hz and an average power of ∼150 mW to image gas at standoff ranges of as long as 100 m, using a backscatter target with a reflectivity of 0.016 sr-1. This is a tenfold improvement over an earlier raster-scanned imager. Natural gas leaks as small as 1.6 × 10-4 standard liters/s [equal to 0.02 standard cubic feet per hour (scfh)] were imaged at short ranges; leaks as low as 7.9 × 10-4 standard liters/s (0.1 scfh) were observed at long ranges. Data are compared with model predictions, and potential extensions to a fieldable prototype are discussed. The optimization of a direct-injection focal-plane array for detecting short (nanosecond) laser pulses is described.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(100.0100) Image processing : Image processing
(110.3080) Imaging systems : Infrared imaging
(280.0280) Remote sensing and sensors : Remote sensing and sensors
(280.1120) Remote sensing and sensors : Air pollution monitoring
(280.1910) Remote sensing and sensors : DIAL, differential absorption lidar
(280.3640) Remote sensing and sensors : Lidar

Original Manuscript: September 15, 1997
Revised Manuscript: February 20, 1998
Published: June 20, 1998

Thomas J. Kulp, Peter Powers, Randall Kennedy, and Uta-Barbara Goers, "Development of a pulsed backscatter-absorption gas-imaging system and its application to the visualization of natural gas leaks," Appl. Opt. 37, 3912-3922 (1998)

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