Project Acronym: ATMO-SENSE

Full title: Novel portable, ultra-sensitive, fast and rugged trace gas sensor for atmospheric research based on photothermal interferometry

Project duration: 36 Months
Coordinator: TU Wien – Institute of Solid State Electronics

Contact: Dr. Borislav Hinkov

Project website address:

Executive summary

The project ATMO-SENSE aims at taking the next steps towards the realization of a generic gas sensing platform characterized by high sensitivity, fast response time, rugged operation and low power consumption. The photonic sensing concept to be further developed and refined is based on the so called Interferometric Cavity-Assisted Photothermal Spectroscopy (ICAPS), which was recently developed and patented at TU Wien. In ICAPS, sensitivity and ruggedness strongly benefit from miniaturization. This is in strong contrast to classical absorption measurements, where an increase in sensitivity is typically achieved, by an increase in the optical path length.

Due to its unique characteristics ICAPS can be applied to a wide range of different gas sensing applications, like:

  • Environmental trace gas monitoring (CO2, CH4, N2O …)
  • Medical applications (e.g. exhaled breath gas analysis)
  • Manufacturing / production (e.g. process monitoring and process control)

We have selected an application scenario in the area of Environmental Monitoring, where measurement speed, sensitivity, ruggedness and low power consumption are crucial. We plan to analyze fluxes of important trace gas molecules (N2O, CO2, O3) in the atmosphere and want to develop the photonic concept which allows performing such measurements in the future.

The ability to measure fluxes of trace chemical species in the atmosphere is of crucial importance in modern environmental research and reveals information on the mass transport of these chemical components. By analyzing these fluxes, insight in complex transport and exchange phenomena like e.g. geochemical compartments, atmospheric information and NxOy emission of different bacteria can be obtained.