Montana State University researchers have developed an eye-safe,
low-cost, diode-laser-based instrument that could provide important data for scientists predicting the weather and studying climate change.

The laser device offers a cost-effective opportunity to deploy a network of continuously operating monitors that can examine atmosphere conditions, including water vapor, aerosols and clouds.

Recent tests have shown the MSU instrument is capable of retrieving water vapor profiles up through the planetary boundary layer and aerosol profiles up through the troposphere – the atmospheric layer where most weather takes place, with an upper boundary of 7 to 11 miles above the Earth.

The MSU technology provides significant benefits over other emerging, ground-based laser technologies that are large, require extensive cooling and monitoring, and use lasers that pose eye-safety hazards.

The technology is the latest available for licensing at MSU. Interested
companies and entrepreneurs should contact Nick Zelver with the MSU
Technology Transfer Office at (406) 994-7868,
tto.montana.edu/technologies or by e-mail at nzelver@montana.edu. MSU requests that interest be expressed in writing by June 30, 2011.

Currently, MSU has 186 licenses from technologies developed by faculty and researchers. Ninety-one of those licenses are with Montana companies.

– MSU News Service