# Alphasense Application Note AAN NDIR: Gas Concentration Calculation Overview

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1 AAN 21-6 NDIR: Gas Concentration Calculation Overview 1. What is an NDIR Sensor? Alphasense IRC-A sensors use the principle of Non-Dispersive Infra-Red (NDIR to determine gas concentration. Each sensor consists of an infrared source, opti cavity, dual channel detector and internal thermistor. Gas diffuses into the opti cavity. Light from the infrared source passes through the opti cavity where it interacts with the gas before impinging on the detector. Certain gases absorb infrared radiation at specfic wavelengths (absorption bands. he dual channel detector is comprised of an active channel and a reference channel. he active channel is fitted with a filter such that the only light with a wavelength that corresponds to an absoption band of the target gas is allowed to pass through. If the target gas is present in the opti cavity the intensity of light passing through the filter and hitting the active channel decreases. he reference channel of the detector is fitted with a filter that only allows wavelengths of light where there are no absorption bands to pass through. he intensity of light hitting the reference channel is not affected by the presence of gas. he use of a reference channel allows variations in the light intensity to be compensated for. he detectors used are highly sensitive to the ambient temperature and so it is necessary to constantly monitor the temperature and compensate the output. he internal thermistor is used for this purpose. 2. How do I get useful signals from the sensor? Full details are given in Application Note AAN 22. Briefly, in order to get useful signals from the detector in an NDIR sensor the infrared source is typily pulsed on and off at 1 to 3 Hz in a square wave, 5% duty cycle. Suggested frequencies are 2 Hz for IRC-A1 sensors which use pyroelectric detectors and 3 Hz for IRC-A sensors which use thermopile detectors. he actual frequency is not hugely important but it must be stable. Using suitable circuitry this generates approximately sinusoidal detector output signals from a preamplifier. It is the peak to peak amplitude of these signals that is important. In the following discussion the use of active and reference signal refers to the amplitude. 3. Calibrating the sensor For sensor ibration two parameters are needed. hese are ZERO and : ZERO. his is the ratio of the active to reference signals in the absence of the target gas: ZERO = AC REF AC and REF are signals in zero gas. ZERO is a sensor specific parameter and should be determined whenever the sensor is installed (or reinstalled in an instrument. he sensor should be powered on and left to warm up for at least 3 minutes in zero gas. he active and reference signals should then be measured and ZERO determined. he temperature should also be measured and recorded. Alphasense Limited Page 1 of 5 November 214 Sensor echnology House, 3 Avenue West, Skyline 12, Great Notley Essex CM77 7AA, UK el: +44 ( Fax: +44 (

2 . his the proportion of radiation that impinges on the active element of the detector that has the ability to be absorbed by the target gas. Due to filter bandwidth and fine structure in absorption spectra there will be radiation that cannot be absorbed by the target gas (see Application Note AAN 24. can be determined as follows: ABSx = 1 exp( bx c ABS x is the absorbance (see below at the ibration concentration X: see able 1 for recommended concentrations for each sensor range b and c are linearisation coefficients (see able 1 and Application Note AAN Determination of Absorbance Absorbance is defined as (see Application Note AAN 24: ABS = 1 I I I = AC/REF I = AC /REF = ZERO Absorbance can therefore be determined from the sensor outputs using: AC ABS = 1 REF ZERO 5 Determination of Gas Concentration he gas concentration is determined from the following equation: x = ln 1 ABS b ABS is the absorbance is the proportion of absorbing radiation (determined during ibration (see above b and c are linearisation coefficients (see able 1 and Application Note AAN 23 Alphasense Limited Page 2 of 5 November 214 Sensor echnology House, 3 Avenue West, Skyline 12, Great Notley Essex CM77 7AA, UK el: +44 ( Fax: +44 (

3 Note that the above equation assumes a positive absorbance. If the absorbance is negative the following equation should be used. Note that although negative absorbances imply a negative gas concentration they may be encountered due to temperature effects. ABS ln 1 + x = b 6. emperature Compensation he effects of temperature on an NDIR sensor are complex and care must be taken to ensure effective temperature compensation. Changes in temperature affect the absorbance, and apparent gas concentration. he complexity of temperature compensation algorithms applied to the data depends on the accuracy required. Details are given below for two simple linear corrections. For details of more complex corrections to improve accuracy, users are encouraged to contact Alphasense. 6.1 ONLY compensation For sensors with high full se values (e.g >1 % vol. CO 2 it is normally sufficient to correct only the, using the following equation: = + β o ( is the at temperature, is the determined during ibration β o is the ONLY correction coefficient (see able 1 and Application Note AAN 23 is the ibration temperature 6.2 ABS AND compensation o ensure accuracy at low concentrations, it may be necessary to correct both the absorbance and the. he absorbance is corrected using the following equation: ( 1 ABS = ( 1 ABS ( 1+ α( ABS is the temperature corrected absorbance at temperature, ABS is the uncorrected absorbance α is the absorbance correction coefficient (see able 1 and Application Note AAN 23 is the ibration temperature Alphasense Limited Page 3 of 5 November 214 Sensor echnology House, 3 Avenue West, Skyline 12, Great Notley Essex CM77 7AA, UK el: +44 ( Fax: +44 (

4 is then corrected as above but to ensure accurate compensation a different coefficient should be used (see Application Note AAN 23: = + β A ( is the at temperature, is the determined during ibration β A is the ABS AND correction coefficient (see able 1 and Application Note AAN 23 is the ibration temperature 7. Calculating the temperature corrected gas concentration Following correction of ABS and/or, the gas concentration can be culated. However, in order to relate the gas concentration (in % volume at temperature,, with the gas concentration (in % volume at the ibration temperature it is necessary to employ the ideal gas law. his accounts for apparent changes in the gas concentration with temperature (because an NDIR sensor is sensitive to the number of molecules of the target gas in the cell, not the % volume so that the gas concentration at temperature,, is given by: x = ABS ln 1 b Alphasense Limited Page 4 of 5 November 214 Sensor echnology House, 3 Avenue West, Skyline 12, Great Notley Essex CM77 7AA, UK el: +44 ( Fax: +44 (

5 8. Summary of Coefficients Alphasense Application Note AAN 21-6 Sensor Gas Range ( Conc. IRC-A1-IAQ CO 2 to 5 ppm (4 ppm IRC-A1-Safety CO 2 to 5 % Vol (4 % Vol IRC-A1-Combustion CO 2 to 2 % Vol (16 % Vol IRC-A1-Industrial CO 2 to 1 % Vol (1 % Vol Linearisation Coefficients emp. Comp. Coefficients b c β O α β A 4.1 x N/A n.d n.d n.d able 1. IRC-A1 : Standardised Linearisation and emperature Compensation Coefficients (assuming ibration at 2 C Sensor Gas Range ( Conc. IRC-A-IAQ CO 2 to 5 ppm (4 ppm IRC-A-Safety CO 2 to 5 % Vol (4 % Vol IRC-A-Combustion CO 2 to 2 % Vol (16 % Vol IRC-A-Industrial CO 2 to 1 % Vol (1 % Vol Linearisation Coefficients emp. Comp. Coefficients b c β O α β A 3.25 x tbd.56 tbd tbd.56 tbd tbd tbd tbd tbd tbd able 2. IRC-A : Standardised Linearisation and emperature Compensation Coefficients (assuming ibration at 2 C Alphasense Limited Page 5 of 5 November 214 Sensor echnology House, 3 Avenue West, Skyline 12, Great Notley Essex CM77 7AA, UK el: +44 ( Fax: +44 (

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