Rapid Measurement and Mapping of Tracer Gas Concentrations in a Large Indoor Space

Publication Type

Journal Article




Rapid mapping of gas concentrations in air benefits studies of atmospheric phenomena ranging from pollutant dispersion to surface layer meteorology. Here we demonstrate a technique that combines multiple-open-path tunable-diode-laser spectroscopy and computed tomography to map tracer gas concentrations with approximately 0.5 m spatial and 7 s temporal resolution. Releasing CH4 as a tracer gas in a large (7 m×9 m×11 m high) ventilated chamber, we measured path-integrated CH4 concentrations over a planar array of 28 “long” (2–10 m) optical paths, recording a complete sequence of measurements every 7 s during the course of hour-long experiments. Maps of CH4 concentration were reconstructed from the long path data using a computed tomography algorithm that employed simulated annealing to search for a best fit solution. The reconstructed maps were compared with simultaneous measurements from 28 “short” (0.5 m) optical paths located in the same measurement plane. On average, the reconstructed maps capture ∼74% of the variance in the short path measurements. The accuracy of the reconstructed maps is limited, in large part, by the number of optical paths and the time required for the measurement. Straightforward enhancements to the instrumentation will allow rapid mapping of three-dimensional gas concentrations in indoor and outdoor air, with sub-second temporal resolution.


Atmospheric Environment



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