Highly Scalable Many Gas Optical Analyzer for Monitoring Submarine Atmospheres
Navy SBIR FY2018.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2018.1
Topic No.: N181-049
Topic Title: Highly Scalable Many Gas Optical Analyzer for Monitoring Submarine Atmospheres
Proposal No.: N181-049-0856
Firm: Vista Photonics, Inc.
3655 Research Drive
Bldg. A, Ste. 106
Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003
Contact: Jeffrey Pilgrim
Phone: (505) 216-2287
Web Site: http://www.vistaphotonics.com
Abstract: The Central Atmospheric Monitoring System (CAMS) IIA used in U.S. Navy submarines has been a reliable and crucial component for the operational safety of submarine crew for 40 years. While the CAMS has been updated slightly, there are lingering unresolvable issues. The proposed sensor is based on two different methods that will be incorporated into a single instrument. The first uses an optical path length enhancement approach coupled with laser diodes. It allows the instrument to be rugged and compact without compromising sensitivity at ppm levels. A second method utilizes a photoacoustic cell coupled with laser diodes to detect those specific gases where much lower ppb levels are required. The proposed sensor has the ability to measure concentrations of multiple gases at high sensitivities and includes the ability to accommodate many additional gases as they are identified. The proposed sensor is compact, has a startup time of around 2 minutes and a display update time of one second. The sensor maintenance cost would be far less than that of a mass spectrometer, as the proposed sensor approach has demonstrated the capability to provide accurate measurements for many years without calibration or overhaul.
Benefits: The proposed sensor will be cheap to maintain, require no precise optical alignment of lasers or high vacuum, have a quick initial startup time and a rapid individual reading update time, will be compact and lightweight, and will allow for flexible upgrades, all of which are anticipated benefits over the existing CAMS IIA system. The basic technology that will be developed for this project will extend to a broad variety of applications including but not limited to environmental monitoring, process gas analysis, and/or occupational safety assurance.