Elektor Team

Design your own gas sensor

December 10, 2013 | 14:37
Design your own gas sensor
Design your own gas sensor

A new sensor prototyping kit designed as a plug-and-play tool to accelerate prototyping, validation and product development for new gas measurement instruments has been launched by Cal Sensors. Supporting both PbS and PbSe detector technologies, the prototyping kit allows engineers to focus on system design issues by quickly validating detector viability.


The kit consists of two digital driver boards with integrated electronics, a detector with up to four channels, a PIREPlus emitter (see below) and developer tools. Each board includes all the circuitry needed to control the detector or emitter and provides analogue to digital conversion for computer control and analysis. The boards are fitted with a PbS or PbSe single or multi-channel detector. The latter enables the detection of up to four distinct substances or gases while providing a channel isolation of more than 99.5 %.


The PIREPlus high-output emitter can be pulsed at 180 Hz with 50 % modulation depth to emit blackbody radiation over the near-infrared to far-infrared spectrum. With a pulse rate 18 times higher than alternative technologies, it maximizes signal to noise performance to increase dynamic range and resolution for detecting trace gases at very low concentrations. The solid-state emitter provides 40 mW/cm² at 25 mm from the emitter and fast pulse rates without the added expense of optical choppers or mechanical modulators often used with incandescent emitters, covering a much wider spectrum than high-speed IR LEDs. To meet specific application requirements, the pulse rate can be adjusted between 1 Hz and 200 Hz by varying the voltage. A special feature of the drive electronics is the ability to provide peak pulse temperatures independent of pulse rate.

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