Electrical readout of a nitric oxide trace-gas sensor based on Rydberg excitation

Research Project of Prof. Dr. Tilman Pfau (PI5), Prof. Dr. Jens Anders (IIS), Prof. Dr. Norbert Frühauf (IGM)

Within this project we target the trace gas detection of nitric-oxide (NO) in breath gas. The concentration of NO in the exhaled air is an important indicator for inflammatory diseases of the bronchia as in the case of asthma. State of the art NO sensors used in health care rely on electrochemical detection schemes with excellent sensitivity but limitations in bandwidth and small gas volumes. In our approach we rely on a very selective multiphoton excitation to a highly excited Rydberg state of NO. By collisions with the background gas the NO ionizes and the arising charges are monitored by a highly engineered trans-impedance amplifier. With this approach we aim for a detection bandwidth in the high KHz regime and a sensitivity down to a few ppb.

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