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Anna Michel and Jason Kapit test laser spectrometer

Laser Focus

Engineers Jason Kapit and Anna Michel test a laser spectrometer designed to detect changing levels of methane in the atmosphere. The system shoots a laser beam between two points in an environment. Different chemicals absorb light along the way, and a detector measures the amount of light that emerges at the far end – and the amount of gas that is present. The researchers are particularly interested in how much methane, a strong greenhouse gas, emerges from Arctic locations over time.

(Photo by Ken Kostel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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