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Methane (CH4)



Major Applications

nanoplus lasers detect methane detection in numerous applications, such as in combustion control, detection of greenhouse gases, breath gas analysis as well as in leakage control in gas pipelines.

Tunable diode laser spectroscopy allows measuring CH4 with up to ppb precision in real time and in situ. Providing long-term stability and requiring little maintenance, nanoplus lasers are suitable for operation in harsh environments.


Typical Wavelengths

Select your target wavelength

nanoplus offers various wavelengths to target the vibrational-rotational bands of methane. Select the target wavelength that fits your application best.

The literature recommends several options. They are illustrated in the graphic on the right, which shows the relative intensities of the possible absorption lines. To define the most suitable CH4 wavelength for your application, you may have a look at our literature recommendations below or refer to the HITRAN database from the Smithsonian Institute.

We present the most common Distributed Feedback lasers for CH4 detection below. Learn more about their specifications.

Factors which you should consider in your setup

Above wavelengths as well as further customized wavelengths for methane detection are available from nanoplus.

When you choose your wavelength, you have to consider your product set up, environment and nature of the measurement.

These factors influence the optimum wavelength for your application. Do have a look at the Hitran Database to further evaluate your choice of wavelengths. Our application experts are equally happy to discuss with you the most suitable wavelength for your application.

Let us know the wavelength you require with an accuracy of 0.1 nm!

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Further Reading

Applications & Papers

We compiled several papers on methane detection based on tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy. Refer to below literature list to read more or select your paper by application.

Emission control of greenhouse gases: CH4

Greenhouse gas effects and climate change have triggered global emission monitoring of pollutants like methane. Methane is one of the Earth’s most important atmospheric gases. It is, to a large extend, responsible for the accelerating greenhouse effect. The global warming potential of methane is about 30 times higher than that of CO2 based on a 100 year scale. Studies are executed on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency to quantify the methane emissions caused by the increased natural gas exploration and production in the US.

[ 162 , 146 , 142 , 141 , 129 , 128 , 119 , 109 , 107 , 92 , 61 ]
Leakage control in gas pipelines: CH4

Leaks of CH4 may cause dangerous situations and are hard to locate precisely. Hence, maintenance of underground pipelines produces high costs. CH4 leaks are also an important source for greenhouse gases. With TDLAS a strong tool is available to manufacture portable leak detectors.

[ 162 ]
Combustion control in integrated gasification fuel cell cycles: CH4

Methane content of syngas is controlled to improve combustion efficiency of integrated gasification fuel cell cycles.

[ 35 ]
CO2 & CH4
Combustion control in high temperature processes: CO2 and CH4

Continuous monitoring of contents like CO2 or CH4 concentrations is essential for the efficiency of high-temperature processes in e. g. incinerators, furnaces or petrochemical refineries. Managing the CO2 content in combustion processes simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This is also relevant for energy generating industries like coal burning power plants.

[ 154 , 124 , 121 , 115 , 112 , 111 , 96 , 94 , 62 , 45 , 40 , 35 , 12 ]
Papers & Links
# 5 DFB lasers exceeding 3 µm for industrial applications
L. Naehle, L. Hildebrandt, Laser+Photonics, 2012, pp. 78-80,
# 7 DFB laser diodes expand hydrocarbon sensing beyond 3 µm
L. Hildebrandt, L. Naehle, Laser Focus World, January 2012, pp. 87-90,
# 9 DFB Lasers Between 760 nm and 16 µm for Sensing Applications
W. Zeller, L. Naehle, P. Fuchs, F. Gerschuetz, L. Hildebrandt, J. Koeth , Sensors, 10, 2010, pp. 2492-2510.,
# 13 Continuous-wave operation of type-I quantum well DFB laser diodes emitting in 3.4 µm wavelength range around room temperature
L. Naehle, S. Belahsene, M. von Edlinger, M. Fischer, G. Boissier, P. Grech, G. Narcy, A. Vicet, Y. Rouillard, J. Koeth and L. Worschech , Electron. Lett. 47, 1, Januar 2011, pp. 46-47.,
# 19 Measurements of Mars Methane at Gale Crater by the SAM Tunable Laser Spectrometer on the Curiosity Rover
C.R. Webster, P.R. Mahaffy, S.K. Atreya, G.J. Flesch, K.A. Farley, 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference,, LPI Contribution No. 1719, March 18-22 2013, p. 1366.,
# 29 Detection of Methane Isotopologues – cw-OPO vs. DFB Diode Laser
M. Wolff, S. Rhein, H. Bruhns, J. Koeth, L. Hildebrandt, P. Fuchs, 16th International Conference on Photoacoustic and Photothermal Phenomena.,
# 35 TDLAS-based sensors for in situ measurement of syngas composition in a pressurized, oxygen-blown, entrained flow coal gasifier
R. Sur, K. Sun, J.B. Jeffries, R.K. Hanson, R.J. Pummill, T. Waind, D.R. Wagner, K.J. Whitty, 2014, Appl. Phys. B, 116, 1, 2014, pp. 33-42,
# 50 Mid-IR difference frequency laser-based sensors for ambient CH4, CO, and N2O monitoring;
J. J. Scherer, J. B. Paul, H. J. Jost, Marc L. Fischer, Appl. Phys. B, 109, 3, November 2017, pp. 271-277.,
# 61 Demonstration of an Ethane Spectrometer for Methane Source Identification
T.I. Yacovitch, S.C. Herndon, J.R. Roscioli, C. Floerchinger, R.M. McGovern, M. Agnese, G. Petron, J. Kofler, C. Sweeney, A. Karion, S.A. Conley, E.A. Kort, L. Naehle, M. Fischer, L. Hildebrandt,.J. Koeth, J.B. McManus, D.D. Nelson, M.S. Zahniser, C.E. Kolb, Environ. Sci. Technol., 48, 2014, 8028-8034.,
# 62 High-sensitivity interference-free diagnostic for measurement of methane in shock tubes
R. Sur, S. Wang, K. Sun, D. F. Davidson, J. B. Jeffries, R. K. Hanson, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, Vol. 156, May 2015, pp. 80-87,
# 63 Breath Analysis Using Laser Spectroscopic Techniques: Breath Biomarkers, Spectral Fingerprints, and Detection Limits
C. Wang and P. Sahay, Sensors, 9, 2009, 8230 - 8262,
# 77 Compact TDLAS based sensor design using interband cascade lasers for mid-IR trace gas sensing
L. Dong, F. K. Tittel, C. Li, N. P. Sanchez, H. Wu, C. Zheng, Y. Yu, A. Sampaolo, R. J. Griffin , Optics Express, Vol. 24, Issue 6, 2016, pp. A528-A535.,
# 89 Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater
C. R. Webster, P. R. Mahaffy, S. K. Atreya, G. J. Flesch, M. A. Mischna, P.-Y. Meslin, K. A. Farley, P. G. Conrad,L. E. Christensen, A. A. Pavlov, J. Martín-Torres, M.-P. Zorzano, T. H. McConnochie, T. Owen, J. L. Eigenbrode, D. P. Glavin, A. Steele, C. A. Malespin, P. Douglas Archer Jr., B. Sutter, P. Coll, C. Freissinet, C. P. McKay, J. E. Moores, S. P. Schwenzer, J. C. Bridges, R. Navarro-Gonzalez, R. Gellert, M. T. Lemmon , the MSL Science Team, Science, Vol.347, Issue 6220, 23. Januar 2015 , pp. 415-417.,
# 90 Optical feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy with a 3.24 µm interband cascade laser
K. M. Manfred, G. A. D. Ritchie, N. Lang, J. Roepcke, J. H. van Helden , Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 2015, 221106.,
# 106 Recent progress in laser‑based trace gas instruments: performance and noise analysis
J. B. McManus, M. S. Zahniser, D. D. Nelson et. al., Appl. Phys. B, 2015, 119: 203.,
# 107 Interband cascade laser-based ppbv-level mid-infrared methane detection using two digital lock-in amplifier schemes
F. Song, C. Zheng, D. Yu, Y. Zhou, W. Yan, W. Ye, Y. Zhang, Y. Wang, F. K. Tittel , Appl. Phys. B, 2018, 124:51.,
# 109 Performance enhancement of methane detection using a novel self-adaptive mid-infrared absorption spectroscopy technique
F. Song, C. Zheng, W. Yan, W. Ye, Y. Zhang, Y. Wang, F. K. Tittel, IEEE Phot. Journ., Vol.10, No.6, December 2018,
# 119 Interband cascade laser based quartz-enhanced photoacoustic sensor for multiple hydrocarbons detection
A. Sampaolo, S. Csutak, P. Patimisco, M. Giglio, G. Menduni, V. Passaro, F. K. Tittel, M. Deffenbaugh, V. Spagnolo, Proc. SPIE 10540, Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XV , 26th January 2018, 105400C,
# 122 A streamlined approach to hybrid-chemistry modeling for a low cetane-number alternative jet fuel
N. H. Pinkowski, Y. Wang , S. J. Cassady , D. F. Davidson , R. K. Hanson , Combustion and Flame, Vol.208, October 2019, pp. 15-26.,
# 123 Multi-wavelength speciation of high-temperature 1-butene pyrolysis
N. H. Pinkowski, S. J. Cassady, D. F. Davidson, R. K. Hanson, Fuel, Vol. 244, 15th May 2019, pp. 269-281.,
# 127 Narrow linewidth characteristics of interband cascade lasers
Y. Deng , B.-B. Zhao, X.-G. Wang, C. Wang, Appl. Phys. Lett., Vol.116, 2020, 201101,
# 128 Quartz-enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy for hydrocarbon trace gas detection and petroleum exploration
A. Sampaoloa, G. Mendunib,P. Patimiscoa, M. Giglioa, V. M.N. Passaroc, L. Donga, H. Wua, F. K. Tittel, V. Spagnoloa, , Fuel, Vol.277, 2020,
# 129 Sub-ppb-level CH4 detection by exploiting a low-noise differential photoacoustic resonator with a room-temperature interband cascade laser
H. Zhen, Y. Liu, H. Lin, R. Kan, P. Patimisco, A. Sampaolo, M. Giglio, W. Zhu, J. Yu, F. K. Tittel, V. Spagnolo, Z. Chen, Opt. Expr., Vol. 28, Iss. 13, 2020, p. 19446.,
# 134 Deep neural network inversion for 3D laser absorption imaging of methane in reacting flows
C. Wei, K. K. Schwarm, D. I. Pineda, R. M. Spearrin, , Opt. Lett, Vol.45, No.8, 2020, p. 2447.,
# 136 Temperature-dependent line mixing in the R-branch of the v3 band of methane
J. Li, A. P. Nair, K. K. Schwarm, D. I. Pineda, R. M. Spearrin, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer, No.255, 2020, 107271.,
# 140 Interband cascade laser arrays for simultaneous and selective analysis of C1–C5 hydrocarbons in petrochemical industry
J. Scheuermann, P. Kluczynski, K. Siembab, M. Straszewski, J. Kaczmarek, R. Weih, M. Fischer, J. Koeth, A. Schade, S. Höfling, Appl. Spectrosc, January 2021, 2021,
# 141 Atmospheric CH4 measurement near a landfill using an ICL-based QEPAS sensor with V-T relaxation self-calibration
H. Wu, L. Dong, X. Yin, A. Sampaolo, P. Patimisco, W. Ma, L. Zhang, W. Yin, L. Xiao, V. Spagnolo, S. Jia, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, Vol.297, 2019, 126753.,
# 162 Methane leak detection by tunable laser spectroscopy and mid-infrared imaging
T. Strahl, J. Herbst, A. Lambrecht, E. Maier, J. Steinebrunner, J. Wöllenstein , Appl. Optics, Vol. 60, No. 15, 2021, C68-C75,
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If you have any questions on above wavelengths or require advice on making your choice, our experts will assist you. Just email us or give us a call.