NEWS

Portable spectrometers used for air quality monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico

Portable spectroscopy specialist Ocean Optics has announced that its modular HR2000 spectrometers have been used for air quality monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico as part of Argos Scientific's portable UV DOAS air monitoring system. Argos Scientific is working in conjunction with Hillsborough County, Florida, to monitor the environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The project has special significance to Ocean Optics as the company is located on the Gulf side of Florida, and its community will be affected in coming months as the oil advances, upsetting both water and air quality. The HR2000 high-resolution miniature fibre optic spectrometer is a small-footprint spectrometer that provides optical resolution to 0.035nm (FWHM). The modular spectrometer design allows users to select optical bench options such as the detector, grating and entrance aperture (slit).

Argos custom-configured the HR2000 spectrometer used in its portable UV DOAS air monitoring system. In the Gulf, the system has already analysed a number of environmental samples, containing a mixture of oil and sea water, from the spill area. Vapour analysed from the samples indicate the presence of two gases with unique UV spectral features being emitted from the samples. The data from these initial investigations will be used to update the system's spectral libraries. A UV DOAS system has been set up in Mississippi for continuous monitoring, with real time data posted online.

A second Argos system has been sent to the University of North Alabama, where a calibration and test facility has been established to accommodate future samples associated with the oil and dispersant material collected by community members in the Gulf area.

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