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Water Vapour (H2O)

Detect H2O in real time & in situ with up to ppb precision

Water Vapour

Major applications

nanoplus lasers detect water vapour detection in numerous applications, such as in gas pipelines, for climate monitoring or combustion control as well as for isotope detection on Mars with the NASA's Curiosity Rover.

Tunable diode laser spectroscopy allows measuring H2O 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.

Which absorption line is the perfect one for your application?

Typical wavelengths

Select your target wavelength

nanoplus offers various wavelengths to target the vibrational-rotational bands of water vapour. 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 H2O 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 H2O detection below. Learn more about their specifications.

Factors which you should consider in your setup

Above wavelengths as well as further customized wavelengths for water vapour 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 water vapour detection based on tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy. Refer to below literature list to read more or select your paper by application.

Papers & Links
Isotopologue ratio measurements: H2O

Water isotopologue measurements are carried out in various research fields like climate and paleoclimate studies, geological surveys, hydrological studies, and clinical research for diagnosis.

[ 167 , 105 ]
CO2 & H2O
Isotope detection by NASA Mars Rover Curiosity: CO2 and H2O

NASA’s flagship Rover Curiosity detects CO2 and H2O isotopes based on their tunable laser spectrometer SAM. The analysis of soil samples is to determine whether Mars is or has been a suitable living environment. We are proud that the instrument uses a 2.78 µm nanoplus laser for this measurement.

[ 115 , 25 ]
Optimization of internal combustion engines: H2O

The automotive industry designs new engines to increase fuel efficiency and reduce pollutant emission. Exhaust gas recirculation has become a standard technology for emission control. A newly developed laser hygrometer measures water vapour in such engines with microsecond time resolution and in situ. This method helps to rapidly quantify recirculated gas fractions and to eventually optimize combustion.

[ 47 ]
Monitoring of climate processes: H2O

Ecologists are worried about the melting of permafrost soils in the northern hemisphere. Greenhouse gases like CO2 or CH4 that are stored in the soil might be released in this case. Another, less observed, thread comes from the evaporation and condensation of large water vapor volumes. A laser-based hygrometer for mobile field applications has been developed. It measures water vapour in situ and at low concentrations. An airborn approach for monitoring climate processes is the use of a multi-wavelength H2O-Differential Absorption Lidar. It examines the whole troposphere and lower stratosphere simultaneously.

[ 46 , 21 ]
Quality control in natural gas pipelines: H2O

Water vapour measurement is critical for gas companies to meet quality specifications and to protect pipelines from corrosion. False positives are very costly. Often the gas cannot be delivered if it is "wet".

Combustion control in high temperature processes: H2O

Water vapour is often examined in combustion and propulsion processes as it is a primary product of hydrogen and hydrocarbon fuels.

[ 154 , 153 , 121 , 120 , 70 , 65 , 28 , 17 , 16 , 15 ]
Papers & Links
# 4 Laser-Based Analyzers – Shining New Stars
P. Nesdore, Gases & Instrumentation, March/April 2011, pp. 30-33,
# 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,
# 15 Scanned-wavelength-modulation spectroscopy near 2.5 µm for H2O and temperature in a hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet combustor
C. S. Goldenstein, I. A. Schultz, R. M. Spearrin, J. B. Jeffries, R.K. Hanson, Appl. Phys. B,, 116, 3, September 2014, pp 717-727.,
# 16 Diode laser measurements of linestrength and temperature-dependent lineshape parameters of H2O-, CO2-, and N2-perturbed H2O transitions near 2474 and 2482 nm
C.S. Goldenstein, J.B. Jeffries, R.K. Hanson, Journal of Quantitative Spectr. & Radiative Transfer, 130, 2013, pp. 100–111.,
# 17 Wavelength-modulation spectroscopy near 2.5 µm for H2O and temperature in high-pressure and -temperature gases
C.S. Goldenstein, R.M. Spearrin, J.B. Jeffries, R.K. Hanson, Appl. Phys. B, 116, 3, September 2014, pp 705-716.,
# 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.,
# 21 The airborne multi-wavelength water vapor differential absorption lidar WALES: system design and performance
M. Wirth, A. Fix, P. Mahnke, H. Schwarzer, F. Schrandt, G. Ehret, Appl. Phys.B, 96, 1th July 2009, pp. 201-213,
# 25 Isotope Ratios of H, C, and O in CO2 and H2O of the Martian Atmosphere
C.R. Webster, P.R. Mahaffy, G.J. Flesch, P.B. Niles, J. Jones, L.A. Leshin, S.K. Atreya, J.C. Stern, L.E. Christensen, T. Owen, H. Franz, R.O. Pepin, A. Steele, Science, 341, 6143, 2013, pp. 260-263.,
# 28 In situ combustion measurements of H2O and temperature near 2.5 µm using tunable diode laser absorption
A. Farooq, J.B Jeffries, R.K Hanson, Meas. Sci. Technol., 19, 2008, 075604, pp. 11.,
# 30 Kalman filtering real-time measurements of H2O isotopologue ratios by laser absorption spectroscopy at 2.73 µm
T. Wu, W. Chen, E. Kerstel, E. Fertein, X. Gao, J. Koeth, Karl Roessner, D. Brueckner , Opt. Lett., 35, 5, 2010, pp. 634.636.,
# 34 High power pulsed 976 nm DFB laser diodes
W. Zeller, M. Kamp, J. Koeth, L. Worschech, Photonic Microdevices/Microstructures for Sensing, II, 76820T, 2010,
# 46 TDLAS-based open-path laser hygrometer using simple reflective foils as scattering targets;
A. Seidel, S. Wagner, V. Ebert, Appl. Phys. B, 109, 3, November 2012, pp. 497-504.,
# 47 High-speed tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy for sampling-free in-cylinder water vapor concentration measurements in an optical IC engine;
O. Witzel, A. Klein, S. Wagner, C. Meffert, C. Schulz, V. Ebert, Appl. Phys. B, 109, 3, November 2012, pp. 521-532.,
# 51 Noninvasive monitoring of gas in the lungs and intestines of newborn infants using diode lasers: feasibility study
P. Lundin, E.K. Svanberg, L. Cocola, M.L. Xu, G. Somesfalean, S. Andersson-Engels, J. Jahr, V. Fellman, K. Svanberg, S. Svanberg , Journal of Biomedical Optics, 18 (12), December 2013, 127005,
# 65 H2O temperature sensor for low-pressure flames using tunable Diode laser Absorption near 2.9 µm
S. Li, A. Farooq, R.K. Hanson, Meas. Sci. Technol., 22, 2011, pp. 125301-125311.,
# 70 In situ H2O and temperature detection close to burning biomass pellets using calibration-free wavelength modulation spectroscopy
Z. Qu, F.M. Schmidt, App. Phys. B, 119, 2015, pp. 45-53.,
# 71 Novel utilisation of a circular multi-reflection cell applied to materials ageing experiments
D.A. Knox, A.K. King, E.D. McNaghten, S.J. Brooks, P.A. Martin, S.M. Pimblott , App. Phys. B, 119, 2015, pp. 55-64.,
# 73 Time-multiplexed open-path TDLAS spectrometer for dynamic, sampling-free, Interstitial H218O and H216O vapor detection in ice clouds
B. Kuehnreich, S. Wagner, J.C. Habig, O. Moehler, H. Saathoff, V. Ebert , App. Phys. B, 119, 2015, pp. 177-187.,
# 105 Design and performance of a dual-laser instrument for multiple isotopologues of carbon dioxide and water
J. B. McManus, D. D. Nelson and M. S. Zahniser , Optics Express, Vol.23, Issue 5, 2015, pp. 6569-6586.,
# 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.,
# 120 Single-ended mid-infrared laser-absorption sensor for time-resolved measurements of water concentration and temperature within the annulus of a rotating detonation engine
W. Y. Peng, S. J. Cassady, C. L. Strand, C. S. Goldenstein, R. Mitchell Spearrin, C. M. Brophy, J. B. Jeffries, R. K. Hanson, Proc. of the Comb. Inst., Vol.37, Iss.2, 2019, pp. 1435 - 1443.,
# 121 A comparative laser absorption and gas chromatography study of low-temperature n-heptane oxidation intermediates
A. M. Ferris, J. W. Streicher, A. J. Susa, D. F. Davidson, R. K. Hanson , Proc. of the Comb. Inst., Vol.37, Iss.1, 2019, pp. 249-257.,
# 150 In‑situ thermochemical analysis of hybrid rocket fuel oxidation via laser absorption tomography of CO, CO2, and H2O
F. A. Bendana, I. C. Sanders, J. J. Castillo, C. G. Hagström, D. I. Pineda, R. M. Spearrin, Experiments in Fluids, Iss. 9, Art. 190, 2020,
# 151 The interband cascade laser
J. R. Meyer, W. Bewley, C. L. Canedy, C. S. Kim, M. Kim, C. D. Merritt, I. Vurgaftman, Photonics, Vol. 7, No. 3 (75), 2020,
# 153 MHz-rate Laser Spectroscopic Instrument for Reacting Flow Composition and Temperature Measurements inside Rotating Detonation Engines
K. Thurmond, S. Vasu, J. Stout, S. B. Coogan, K. A. Ahmed, I. B. Dunn, S. White, C. Nolen, AIAA, Joint Propulsion Conference, Session: Measurement and Diagnostic Techniques II, 2018,
# 154 Measurements of H2O, CO2, CO and Static Temperature inside Rotating Detonation Engines
K. Thurmond, K. A. Ahmed, S. Vasu, AIAA, SciTech Forum, Session: Detonative Pressure Gain Combustion I, 2019,
# 159 Direct absorption spectroscopy baseline fitting for blended absorption features
J. M. Weisberger, J. P. Richter, R. A. Parker, P. E. DesJardin, Appl. Optics, 2018,
# 167 Analysis of the Stable Isotope Ratios (18O/16O, 17O/16O, and D/H) in Glacier Water by Laser Spectrometry
X. Cui, W. Chen, M. W. Sigrist, E. Fertein, P. Flament, K. De Bondt, N. Mattielli, analytical chemistry, 92, 2020, 4512−4517,
# 177 Distributed Feedback Interband Cascade Laser Based Laser Heterodyne Radiometer for Column Density of HDO and CH4 Measurements at Dunhuang, Northwest of China
X. Lu, Y. Huang, P. Wu, D. Liu, H. Ma, G. Wang, Z. Cao, Remote Sens., 14(6), 2022, 1489,
# 179 The Chicago Water Isotope Spectrometer (ChiWIS-lab): A tunable diode laser spectrometer for chamber-based measurements of water vapor isotopic evolution during cirrus formation
L. C. Sarkozy, B. W. Clouser, K. D. Lamb, E. J. Stutz, H. Saathoff, O. Möhler, V. Ebert, E. J. Moyer, Rev. Sci. Instrum., Vol. 91, Iss. 4, 2020, 045120,
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