Remote Sensing of Meth Labs
Another National Science Foundation grant, this one for $150K to a company called Bridger Photonics:
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I research project addresses the need for sensitive, portable, low-cost, laser-based remote sensing devices to detect chemical effluents of illicit methamphetamine (meth) production from a distance. The proposed project will develop an innovative correlated-mode laser source for high-resolution mid-infrared differential absorption lidar. To accomplish this the research team will base the research on a compact, monolithic, passively Q-switched laser/optical parametric oscillator design that has proven incredibly effective for ranging purposes (no spectroscopy) in demanding environments. This source, in its present state, is unsuitable for high-resolution mid-infrared spectroscopy. The team will therefore advance the laser by targeting the desired effluent mid-IR wavelengths, significantly improving the spectral, spatial, and temporal emission characteristics, and incorporating dual mode operation. Realization of the laser source will enable real-time remote detection of meth labs in widely varying environments, locations, and circumstances with quantum-limited detection sensitivity, spectral selectivity for the desired molecules in a spectral region that is difficult to access, and differential measurement capabilities for effective self calibration.