RICHLAND, Wash. The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been recognized for its work in bringing lab-developed technologies to the marketplace. The award-winning partnerships are helping analyze trace amounts of gas, create the common chemical propylene glycol from plants and more easily study live cells.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium has announced that PNNL won three awards in 2011 for Excellence in Technology Transfer. The consortium is a nationwide network that encourages federal laboratories to transfer lab-developed technologies to commercial markets. The announcement brings PNNL to a total of 74 FLC awards since the recognition program began in 1984, which is more than any other federal laboratory.
Trace gas analysis without the noise
Knowing which gases exist in the atmosphere is critical to a number of fields, including climate research and pollution remediation. Quantum cascade laser systems, also called QCLs, are increasingly being used to identify and quantify atmospheric gas. But identifying gases in very small concentrations with QCLs is a challenge because "noisy" electronics interfere with the laser-based sensors that analyze gas samples. To tackle this problem, PNNL's Matthew Taubman developed a power-delivery device for laser-based sensors that drastically reduces random fluctuations, called "noise," in laser wavelength and line width.
The Low Noise Quantum Cascade Laser Current Controller enables scientists to more accurately detect smaller amounts of trace gases that would be otherwise impossible to measure. Controllers are the first step in the process used to analyze gas. First, the controller delivers power to a QCL, which then directs a beam into a tube containing a gas sample. A detector on the other end of the tube then measures what's left of the laser beam. Based on how much laser light is absorbed by the sample, scientists
can determine the specific gases presen
|Contact: Franny White|
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory