DCO Project Summary

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Project Title
Laser Isotope Ratio Meter for Real-Time in situ Measurements of Volcanic 13C/12C
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Measuring the carbon isotopic composition of volcanic gases is challenging. We are testing a new, ultra-portable laser system to measure carbon isotopic ratios at 1-second temporal resolution at a relative accuracy of ~1.8 per mil.

The laser system has achieved a relative accuracy of 1.8% on the δC13 value, for 1-second temporal resolution, which already places the instrument concept ahead of commercial solutions. The size of the instrument has been reduced by a factor of two, and made much more robust and simple to facilitate deployment in harsh environments. A novel optical scanning system has been implemented that provides superior signal stability and most of the interference signal from surrounding CO2 has been suppressed.

On the spectroscopy side, the collisional effect of increased CO2 concentration has been observed to contribute to the absorption line shape modification compared to air-broadening models only. This has been partially corrected.

A novel software-based demodulation process of the instrument signals has been tested and demonstrated to provide an order of magnitude improvement on the noise floor of the instrument.


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Reporting Year 2012 Click to expand

  • RY2012-1 - submitted on Jan 01, 2012

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    [2012-01-01] Presented instrument design as part of the NSF MIRTHE Lecture, Princeton University, USA.

Reporting Year 2014 Click to expand

  • RY2014-1 - submitted on Jan 01, 2011

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    [2011-01-01] Size of instrument reduced by a factor of two.
  • RY2014-2 - submitted on Feb 01, 2011

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    [2011-02-01] Presented instrument design at UK Space Conference, Warwick, UK.
  • RY2014-3 - submitted on Mar 01, 2011

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    [2011-03-01] Presented instrument design at National Environment Research Council workshop on Metrology, London, UK.
  • RY2014-4 - submitted on Nov 19, 2013

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    [2013-11-19] “RAL space laser spectroscopy activities”, Seminar in the INP institute in Greifswald, Germany
  • RY2014-5 - submitted on May 9, 2014

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    [2014-05-9] “Mid IR tunable laser spectroscopy for molecular sensing – from space to terrestrial applications”, seminar in the Chemistry Department of Cambridge University, UK
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