New IEEE Sensors Journal paper: Advances in Mid-Infrared Fiber Laser Technology for Acetone Gas Sensing

May 30, 2024
#

New IEEE Sensors Journal paper: Advances in Mid-Infrared Fiber Laser Technology for Acetone Gas Sensing

Our research center is proud to announce the publication of our latest study in the IEEE Sensors Journal, titled “Acetone Gas Sensing Using a Hybrid Mid-Infrared Fluoride Fiber Laser.” This paper marks a significant leap forward in the development of mid-infrared (mid-IR) fiber lasers, showcasing their immense potential in gas sensing applications, particularly for medical diagnostics.

The Promise of Mid-IR Fiber Lasers

The mid-IR spectral range, spanning from 2.5 μm to 16 μm, is crucial for various scientific and technological breakthroughs. It is especially valuable for gas sensing, medicine, and clinical chemistry due to the unique absorption signatures of almost all molecules within this range. These signatures are several orders of magnitude stronger than those in other wavelength bands, making mid-IR fiber lasers powerful diagnostic tools with enhanced chemical “fingerprint” sensitivity.

Breath Analysis and Acetone Detection

Breath analysis has emerged as a potent, noninvasive diagnostic tool, capable of real-time monitoring of human health. Human breath contains a complex mixture of gases, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and inorganic gases, many of which can serve as biomarkers for various diseases. Among these, acetone is a key biomarker for diabetes, arising primarily from ketogenesis. Monitoring acetone levels in breath can thus provide critical insights into metabolic processes and the effectiveness of treatments for various conditions.

Innovative Laser Technology

Our research focuses on the mid-IR detection of acetone gas, leveraging the advancements in fiber laser technology. Traditional fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) have been vital for fiber lasers up to 2.2 μm, but beyond this wavelength, silica fibers become inefficient. This necessitates the use of alternative materials like fluoride and chalcogenide fibers, which pose challenges due to their brittleness and the complexities involved in FBG inscription using femtosecond lasers.

Our Novel Approach

In our study, we present a hybrid mid-IR fiber laser that overcomes these challenges. We used a plane-by-plane femtosecond laser-inscribed FBG in Erbium-doped ZBLAN fiber, paired with a free space mirror to form the laser resonator. This combination allows for broad reflectivity and the ability to tune the laser wavelength mechanically or thermally. The resulting mid-IR laser emission enhances sensitivity by two orders of magnitude, providing precise wavelength tuning capabilities across the absorption bands of various organic compounds.

Key Findings

The hybrid mid-IR fiber laser demonstrated significant performance improvements, operating at 3.5 μm with an output power exceeding 500 mW and a slope efficiency of 15.2%. This system successfully detected acetone vapor, highlighting its potential for breath analysis applications. The versatile design of our laser system, combining the FBG and free space mirror, paves the way for future applications in multi-compound breath analysis, offering a robust platform for highly efficient and sensitive gas detection.

Conclusion

Our research represents a major advancement in mid-IR fiber laser technology, with promising implications for medical diagnostics and beyond. The successful development and implementation of our hybrid mid-IR fiber laser system for acetone sensing exemplify the transformative potential of this technology. We look forward to further exploring its applications in breath analysis and contributing to the future of noninvasive diagnostic tools.

For more detailed insights, we invite you to read our full paper in the IEEE Sensors Journal. This work not only underscores the innovative strides we are making in mid-IR fiber lasers but also reinforces our commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and technological development in the field of gas sensing.

Photonics Research Center (PRC), Lumoscribe Ltd.