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Highly sensitive, low-power, and low-weight gas analyzer for UAVs

Award Information

Department of Energy
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2013 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
17 b
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
1550 Pacheco St. Santa Fe, NM 87505-3973
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2013
Title: Highly sensitive, low-power, and low-weight gas analyzer for UAVs
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG02-13ER90584
Award Amount: $149,943.00


Sensing of greenhouse gases including, but not limited, to carbon dioxide and methane, throughout the atmosphere are needed to verify gas fluxes and concentrations in order to understand the terrestrial carbon cycle. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can provide the speed, range, and steering needed for rapid, measurements; but, UAVs have limited payload capacity. New gas sensors are needed that can meet the required combination of performance and UAV constraints. Mesa Photonics proposes a laser-based gas analyzer suitable for UAV deployment (5 kg and 50W). Our method retains the advantages of near- infrared diode lasers while pushing detection sensitivity 2 orders of magnitude closer to the theoretical limit. Project success means that low weight, low power near-infrared systems can compete on sensitivity with mid-infrared gas analyzers. This is important for UAV deployment because near-infrared systems that use fiber optic telecommunications components are more reliable and versatile than are mid-infrared systems based on quantum cascade (QC) lasers. Commercial Applications: The market for UAVs and payloads will likely remain small until domestic FAA restrictions are lifted. However, we have identified a significant industrial sensing market that can be addressed by the proposed technology.

Principal Investigator:

David Bomse

Business Contact:

David Bomse
Small Business Information at Submission:

Mesa Photonics, Llc
1550 Pacheco St Santa Fe, NM 87505-3914

EIN/Tax ID: 431999584
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: Yes