Optical Sensors for Methane (CH4) and Hydrocarbon (CnHm) Detection with Ultra Low Power Consumption

Optical detection is the staple of gas recognition technologies for a number of reasons: reliability, accuracy, and fitness for a broad range of purposes and areas of application.

Based on the contactless analysis of the concentration of combustible gases, optical sensors measure the difference between reference and measured signals or the energy level of a beam of light of a particular spectrum (typical 3.33 or 3.4 microns for the absorption of hydrocarbon) that passes through a control gas chamber and is reflected onto a sensor.

Compared with other detection technologies, optical gas detection technology by MIPEX, as a minimum, offers the following:

- Minimal signal drift – MIPEX dual-detector infrared gas sensors are designed to minimized signal drift that, in turn, extends calibration and maintenance cycles.

- Immunity to “poisoning” – contamination of the measuring elements of a gas sensor with substances that impair the sensor’s ability to operate with acceptable accuracy. In case of conventional contact-type sensors, high gas concentration may lead to unwanted electrochemical reactions or make them susceptible to the negative effects of the environment that the sensors operate in (presence of dust, grease, sulphur, silicones, etc.).

- Fail-safety – boasting an integrated microcontroller, our dual-beam NDIR gas sensors are capable of running self-diagnostic routines and using special signal processing algorithms for better fail-tolerance, as well as maintaining a linearized output for reliable data reading.

- Quick reaction to growing gas concentration.

- Low maintenance costs, since no parts should be periodically replaced.  

- Sensors that contain a metal-ceramic filter, also known as a sinter, should be dismantled for venting or cleaning. MIPEX sensors with a removable filter do not have this flaw.

Innovative optical gas recognition technology by MIPEX

MIPEX leveraged its 20+ years of experience developing high-precision gas sensors to present an all-new line of products that offer a unique combination of ultra-low power consumption, ease of calibration and reliability. MIPEX sensors are already installed in steadily growing number of fixed and portable gas analyzers used at multiple global locations to ensure ultimate safety for people, the environment and sophisticated industrial equipment.

Key advantages of MIPEX infrared gas sensors:

- Extremely low power consumption (under 3 mW across the entire line-up)

- Extended methane measurement range (up to 100% volume concentration)

- High resistance to moisture (negligible reaction up to 98% humidity)

- Long-term stability and ease of calibration

- Integrated controller and a digital interface

- Resistance to catalytic poisons 

- Highest level of intrinsic safety (“ia”)

- Absence of the non-removable metal-ceramic filter (sinter)

With tried and tested NDIR technology at their core, MIPEX sensors use advanced optical and electronic components and proprietary designs that give them the competitive edge and make for extended applicability.

In traditional optical sensors, pulsed micro light bulbs are used as the source of light and pyrodetectors as the beam receiver.

MIPEX replaced them with an optron, a special device comprised of a solid LED-based emitter and receiver with an integrated spectral filter, operating within spectral range 3000–4000 nm which resulted in a manifold decrease of power consumption (under 3 mW, about 100 times less than in competing products).

MIPEX Spectrum Optopair

Miniature size of the sensor was obtained by using the systems of effective parabolic mini mirrors with high light transmission efficiency.

Sensor stability in conditions when characteristics (spectrum position, sensitivity and radiation power) of photo detectors and LEDs are subject to serious changes under the action of temperature, was supported by means of development of new LED types, which have optimized radiation spectrum and use of special signal processing algorithm. It provided high stability for sensor within operating temperature range.

Long-term stability of sensors was achieved by use of photo diodes specially developed for this project based on thin films, which are about 10 times more sensitive than pyroelectric photo detectors and have incomparably higher stability both temperature and long-term ones comparing to photonic photo detectors of other types used earlier.

Finally, all MIPEX products offer rich connectivity options via digital, analog and combined interfaces, and can be fine-tuned for specific working environments and operating conditions using specialized software.

All of this makes MIPEX sensors a perfect choice for building new and upgrading existing gas monitoring systems and portable gas detectors adapted for particular gas types and capable of working in the most aggressive environments.

MIPEX IR gas sensors families

The MIPEX line of sensors consists of several families, each optimized for certain device types and/or application scenarios. They are widely used in such safety-sensitive areas as oil and gas extraction, petroleum refining, chemistry and petrochemistry, mining, power generation, wastewater management, biogas extraction and many others.

Our sensors possess a number of unique properties and features that make them the optimal choice for building robust safety systems from scratch and upgrading legacy systems to meet the most stringent technical requirements of today. All of our products offer an exclusively low level of power consumption (up to 3 orders of magnitude in comparison with closes competitors in case of MIPEX-04), support of fully digital (MIPEX-02) and digital/analog connectivity (MIPEX-03), availability in environment-neutral metal or plastic housing for use under any conditions and a lot more.

We are proud of our products and offer them to you: they will provide the optimal combination of performance and resource consumption, a margin of reliability and variability of operating conditions, the possibility of further optimization and the most important - safety.

More information about IR gas sensors by MIPEX and detailed technical specifications can be found in the corresponding sections of our website.

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