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Retrieval of water vapor mixing ratios from a laser-based sensorLangley Research Center has developed a novel external path sensor which monitors water vapor along an optical path between an airplane window and reflective material on the plane's engine. An infrared tunable diode laser is wavelength modulated across a water vapor absorption line at a frequency f. The 2f and DC signals are measured by a detector mounted adjacent to the laser. The 2f/DC ratio depends on the amount of wavelength modulation, the water vapor absorption line being observed, and the temperature, pressure, and water vapor content of the atmosphere. The present work concerns efforts to quantify the contributions of these factors and to derive a method for extracting the water vapor mixing ratio from the measurements. A 3 m cell was fabricated in order to perform laboratory tests of the sensor. Measurements of 2f/DC were made for a series of pressures and modulation amplitudes. During my 1994 faculty fellowship, a computer program was created which allowed 2f/DC to be calculated for any combination of the variables which effect it. This code was used to generate 2f/DC values for the conditions measured in the laboratory. The experimental and theoretical values agreed to within a few percent. As a result, the laser modulation amplitude can now be set in the field by comparing the response of the instrument to the calculated response as a function of modulation amplitude. Once the validity of the computer code was established, it was used to investigate possible candidate absorption lines. 2f/DC values were calculated for pressures, temperatures, and water vapor mixing ratios expected to be encountered in future missions. The results have been incorporated into a database which will be used to select the best line for a particular mission. The database will also be used to select a retrieval technique. For examples under some circumstances there is little temperature dependence in 2f/DC so temperature can be neglected. In other cases, there is a dependence with temperature for a particular pressure, requiring a more complicated retrieval algorithm. Future experimental work is necessary to test agreement with the theoretical values over a range of temperatures and mixing ratios. Additionally, retrieval algorithms for forthcoming missions must be incorporated into the software package which controls the instrument.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Tucker, George F.
(Sage Junior Coll. of Albany Albany, NY United States)
Date Acquired
August 17, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: The 1995 NASA-ODU American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
Subject Category
Lasers And Masers
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19960020755Analytic PrimaryThe 1995 NASA-ODU American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
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