Gerard Wysocki

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering
Ph.D. 2003, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria

My current research interests are primarily focused on the development of laser based spectroscopic systems for chemical sensing with strong emphasis on real-world applications in atmospheric chemistry and environmental monitoring, bio-medical research and industrial process control.

Many new interesting applications can be enabled with fast, compact, field-deployable, sensitive and selective trace- gas sensors. Laser based spectroscopic sensor systems have an excellent potential to address all those needs and provide remote or in-situ, noninvasive, rapid chemical analysis of the sample of interest. Development of new optical instrumentation, spectroscopic measurement methods and data analysis techniques, implementation of novel laser sources such as quantum cascade lasers or interband cascade lasers, investigation of new applications in interdisciplinary research areas, exploration of modern photonics technologies, materials and devices, as well as efficient transfer of novel technologies and fundamental science discoveries into the applications are the main research goals of our group.

The development of laser spectroscopic techniques strongly relies on increasing the availability of new laser sources. Therefore one of my research directions is focused on development of widely tunable mid-infrared external cavity quantum cascade lasers (EC-QCLs) for high resolution spectroscopic applications in chemical analysis. This technology enables new applications that represent a significant challenge for spectroscopists with existing laser sources i.e. simultaneous detection of multiple molecular species, detection of complex molecules with a broadband unresolved ro-vibrational absorption bands, or spectroscopy of liquid/solid samples. EC-QCLs with tuning ranges up to 15% of the center wavelength and output powers up to 50mW were recently demonstrated in various spectroscopic applications such as photoacoustic detection of broadband absorbers or high resolution (< 0.001 cm-1) Faraday rotation spectroscopy of nitric oxide.

In case of a single sampling point trace-gas monitoring, the lack of spatial information causes the localization of specific emission sources (e.g. accidental gas leaks or unauthorized industrial emissions) to be not possible. The deployment of a sensor network will enable continuous spatial trace-gas monitoring of a large geographical area providing a complete static (concentration) and dynamic (fluxes, sources and sinks) information about target analytes. In one of the current research activities we are developing a low power, miniature spectroscopic trace gas sensor for wirelessly communicating distributed sensor networks. Application of novel optoelectronic devices, ultra-sensitive spectroscopic techniques, power efficient electronics for data acquisition and signal processing, as well as integration at both the device and the system level are of particular interest in this research effort.

Please see my homepage for more details.