Chaotic Cavity Gas Cell for Optical Trace Explosives Detection [INACTIVE]

Download Project Report (Phase 2, Year 3)

Project Description


This project aims to develop novel multipass gas cells for detecting trace amounts of explosives.  The multipass cells employ a unique geometry that stabilizes the trajectory of a laser that transits the cavity and interacts with the gas sample under test.  The optical pathlength, which in part determine the sensitivity of the gas cell, is significantly longer than multipass cells with similar volumes.  The project uses the multipass cells to detect trace amounts of an explosive used in several recent terrorist attacks, but the cells can be used to detect other explosives and gasses of interests to the medical, scientific, and industrial communities.

Students funded on this project will continue to be supported via the ALERT Science and Engineering Workforce Development Program so as not to impact their degrees.


The societal benefits of this project included the development of optical sensing technologies for homeland security that have dual use in fields such as law enforcement, medicine, industry and agriculture.
Phase 2, Year 3 Annual Report
Project Leader
  • Anthony J. Hoffman
    Assistant Professor
    University of Notre Dame

Students Currently Involved in Project
  • Galen Harden
    University of Notre Dame