Trace Hydrogen Gas Sensor

Fast and Sensitive Detection of Trace H2

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University and NOAA have designed a sensor based on Photoacoustic Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy (PARS) that can detect Hydrogen gas (H2) at trace levels, including down to parts per billion (ppb) levels. This sensor can allow accurate and sensitive detection of H2 in air with fast time response in a relatively robust and compact package.


There is growing interest in hydrogen as an energy carrier to reduce the carbon footprint. There has been rapid growth and investment in the H2 economy. Concurrent with the nation developing its hydrogen energy infrastructure is a need for sensors to quantify H2 emissions. There are currently no compact/field instruments available for trace detection of H2 in air. There are only complex, and usually slow time response, lab instruments for H2 detection or field sensors with low sensitivity that can only detect high H2 concentrations. Neither class of existing sensor is adequate for future H2 sensing needs; where compact, sensitive, field instruments will be needed.


The sensor will provide point measurements of H2 concentration in untreated air and could be used for detection of emissions from infrastructure, including safety alarms. The sensor will also be deployable on mobile platforms. Combining sensor concentration readings with meteorological information will allow quantitative inference of mass balance emissions.


  • Accurate and sensitive H2 detection (ppb concentration changes)
  • Fast time response (in seconds)
  • Robust and compact package (size approximately 10 liters)
  • Will support regional and national inventories of H2 emissions and greenhouse gas models


  • End-use such as integrating with H2-based transportation systems for emission detection
  • Rapid alarm detection of H2 leaks for safety purposes
  • Locating and quantifying planned and fugitive leaks from H2 infrastructure
Last Updated: June 2023

Available for Licensing and Sponsored Research
TRL: 3

IP Status

Provisional Patent Application


Azer Yalin
Ciprian Dumitrache
Steven Brown, NOAA

Reference Number
Licensing Manager

Jessy McGowan