A customized stand-alone photometric Raman sensor applicable in explosive atmospheres: a proof-of-concept study

Nachtmann, Marcel; Keck, Shaun Paul; Braun, Frank; Eckhardt, Hanns Simon; Mattolat, Christoph; Gretz, Norbert; Scholl, Stephan; Rädle, Matthias

This paper presents an explosion-proof two-channel Raman photometer designed for chemical process monitoring in hazardous explosive atmospheres. Due to its design, alignment of components is simplified and economic in comparison to spectrometer systems. Raman spectrometers have the potential of becoming an increasingly important tool in process analysis technologies as part of molecular-specific concentration monitoring. However, in addition to the required laser power, which restricts use in potentially explosive atmospheres, the financial hurdle is also high. Within the scope of a proof of concept, it is shown that photometric measurements of Raman scattering are possible. The use of highly sensitive detectors allows the required excitation power to be reduced to levels compliant for operation in potentially explosive atmospheres. The addition of an embedded platform enables stable use as a self-sufficient sensor, since it carries out all calculations internally.

Multi-pixel photon counters (MPPCs) with large detection areas of 1350 inline-formulaµminline-formula2 are implemented as detectors. As a result, the sensitivity of the sensor is strongly increased. This gain in sensitivity is primarily achieved through two characteristics: first, the operating principle “avalanche breakdown” to detect single photons is used; second, the size of the image projected onto the MPPC is much bigger than the pixel area in competing Raman-Spectrometers resulting in higher photon flux. This combination enables reduction of the required excitation power to levels compliant for operation in potentially explosive atmospheres. All presented experiments are performed with strongly attenuated laser power of 35 mW. These include the monitoring of the analytes ethanol and hydrogen peroxide as well as the reversible binding of inline-formulaCO2 to amine. Accordingly, the described embedded sensor is ideally suited as a process analytical technology (PAT) tool for applications in environments with limitations on power input.

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Nachtmann, Marcel / Keck, Shaun Paul / Braun, Frank / et al: A customized stand-alone photometric Raman sensor applicable in explosive atmospheres: a proof-of-concept study. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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