Releases of benzene and other gases have been detected and quantified using a novel optical, open-path instrument based on a deuterium light source and a static Fourier-transform spectrometer. The spectrometer uses Wollaston prisms to form an interferogram in the spatial domain that is recorded by use of a detector array. The instrument is designed to operate in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum between 200 and 270 nm, which coincides with strong absorption features in the spectra of many gases of environmental and health interest. Using the instrument with a 5-s measurement period provides a path-integrated concentration sensitivity to benzene of 2 parts in 106 times meter, which corresponds to a 20-parts in 109 detection limit over a typical path length of 100 m.
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