Jan C. Petersen

+45 2545 9017

Research in optics and photonics

The photonics group at DFM has many years of experience in reasearch and development of precision measurement using lasers and light. The primary focus of the group is spectroscopy and radiometry.
What is spectroscopy? Spectroscopy is used for determining the spectral properties of gasses and measuring concentration. Spectroscopy is also the basis for the realization of the Danish meter.
What is radiometry? Radiometry is the measurement of optical power and spectral properties of light sources such as lasers, LED’s and lamps. DFM offers traceable calibrations of optical power and wavelength. The standard services offered by DFM in the field of radiometry can be seen here.

Wavelength standards for optical telecommunication
Optical telecommunication predominantly uses light with wavelengths around 1300 and 1550 nm. This region coincides with a large set of spectral lines in molecules. The frequencies of these are constant and to a large extent unperturbed by the environment and are therefore ideal as a basis for absolute wavelength metrology. Within the framework of an EU collaboration, DFM has developed wavelength standards based on the molecules HCN (hydrogen cyanide) and C2H2 (acetylene) and these are now use in accredited calibration of equipment for wavelength measurement. DFM is now focused on developing gas filled hollow core fibers (HC-PBF) to serve as frequency standards for the industry.

Research is focused on wavelength standards for optical telecommunication, radiometry in the ultra-violet spectral range, LED characterization and development of primary measurement methods in chemical metrology.

Ultraviolet radiometry
Ultraviolet light is characterized by having a great impact on many physiological and chemical systems. Ultraviolet (UV) light has many potential uses ranging from sterilization of water to creation of vitamin D and treatment of skin conditions. At the same time UV light can lead to adverse effects such as the breakdown of materials and damage to DNA. When using UV light the exact composition of the light is often critical as the effect can change dramatically with wavelength. In order to use UV light in an optimal way it is necessary to be able to accurately characterize the light. DFM is developing methods of for measuring the power and spectral properties of UV light sources in a traceable manner. Particular focus is on emerging UV LED’s that will permit optimal design of UV light sources in the future.

Primary methods in chemical metrology and trace gas analysis
Chemical metrology is concerned with determination of substance amount in a mixture. Traceability in such measurements is typically achieved by comparison with certified reference materials produced by mixing substances in known concentrations. For reactive and unstable materials i.e. ammonia this is not possible. This stresses the demand for developong primary methods that do not rely on reference materials. DFM is applying our experience in optical spectroscopy to the development of primary methods for analysis of gas mixtures. Even in low concentration the unique absorption spectrum of each type of molecule makes detection possible. The concentration of the relevant molecule can then be determined by a quantitative absorption measurement. DFM is employing direct absorption techniques as well as cavity enhanced schemes in the development of these methods with a focus on measuring concentration and isotope ratios of gasses relevant for climate research.


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