Zero drift NDIR gas sensors

Jacob Y. Wong (Airware Inc., Goleta, California, USA)
Mike Schell (AirTest Technologies Inc., Santa Barbara, California, USA)

Sensor Review

ISSN: 0260-2288

Publication date: 25 January 2011



Output stability or drift overtime has long been a major performance deficiency for gas sensors irrespective of what technology or methodology is used for their conception. Software correction may alleviate the problem somewhat but it is not always applicable. It has long been the objective of many researchers in this field to overcome this problem fundamentally and for good. The purpose of this paper is to show that this objective has now finally been achieved.


Conventional non‐dispersive infrared (NDIR) dual beam methodology utilizes the ratio of signal channel output over reference channel output for signal processing. The signal filter overlaps the absorption band of the gas of interest while the reference filter does not. However, this ratio changes as the source ages. The current methodology uses an absorption bias between signal and reference channel outputs. This absorption bias is created by using a path length for the signal channel greater than that for the reference channel. Both the signal and reference detectors carry an identical spectral filter overlapping the absorption band of the gas to be measured.


Implementation of the currently patented NDIR gas‐sensing methodology has been carried out in different gas sensor configurations for over a year in the laboratory. Performance results for these sensors showing insignificant output drifts overtime have been repeatedly demonstrated via simulated aging for the source.


The paper puts forward the view that the recent breakthrough of the Near Zero Drift methodology for NDIR gas sensors will very quickly change the hierarchy of technology dominance and utility for gas sensors at large.



Wong, J. and Schell, M. (2011), "Zero drift NDIR gas sensors", Sensor Review, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 70-77.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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