Abstract

We present the design methodology for a sensor that can nonintrusively monitor target gas concentration levels in a power plant exhaust flow. The measurement is based on radiative emission by rovibrational transitions that are well isolated from emission features of other constituents and requires both moderate spectral resolution (typically 1 nm or below) and relatively high optical throughput. A Fabry-Perot interferometer provides this capability, and its conceptual design is discussed at length. High-temperature radiative emission of nitric oxide in a background of water was used as a sample system for the design of a prototype Fabry-Perot interferometer. Predictions for the instrument are a minimum resolvable NO column density of 100 parts per million times meter based on a simple background subtraction scheme with a gas temperature of 800 K. Improved order sorting can dramatically lower this minimum. The prototype instrument was calibrated and tested with a laboratory simulator; results are presented and compared with predictions.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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