Prof. Igor Rahinov, of the Department of Natural Sciences, at the Open University, together with his colleagues from Ben-Gurion University and the industry, has been awarded a research equipment grant from the Pazy Foundation, to conduct their project titled "Quasi-continuous Pumping  and Broadband High Resolution Detection for an Ultrasensitive Intracavity Laser Absorption Spectrometer in the Ultraviolet". 

This is the second Pazy Foundation grant awarded to Prof. Rahinov and his colleagues. The prior grant, awarded a year ago, lead to proof-of-principle results that will be followed up in the framework of the second grant. 

The research focuses on the development of  groundbreaking technology enabling to discover traces of intermediates that participate in important chemical processes such as pollutant abatement, synthesis of nanomaterials, catalysis etc. While playing a key role in the chemical processes around us, these intermediates are unstable and are formed in negligible quantities, making them invisible to conventional detection techniques, especially when real time in situ detection at harsh environment is required.

To overcome this obstacle, the researchers will utilize a unique technique known as Intracavity Laser Absorption Spectroscopy, where the tested sample is placed inside a resonator of a broadband laser, which makes it possible to increase the detection sensitivity by several orders of magnitude. So far this technology has been available in the visible and the infra-red spectral range, however the ultra-violet range encompassing "fingerprints" of many of key reactive species, was  inaccessible to this technology due to the lack of suitable lasing sources. The current research will focus on commissioning and exploration of a unique laser  system that will allow to expand the application of Intracavity Laser Absorption Spectroscopy to the ultra-violet and to detect these important, yet elusive intermediates.