Coherent Technologies (CTI) is building a sensor for airborne remote sensing of natural gas pipeline leaks. The sensor uses Differential Absorption Ladar (DIAL) techniques to measure the concentration of natural gas in the air. As the aircraft flies over a pipeline, multiple DIAL measurements are made to produce an image of the natural gas content in the pipeline corridor. Areas with high concentrations suggest the presence of a leak in the pipeline.
The decision to build this sensor was based upon extensive modeling of the performance of the sensor. The modeling determined requirements for the sensor, such as laser power, aperture size, operating wavelengths, and scan patterns. The issues that were examined and the trade-offs that were explored will be presented.