Distributive transmissometer for the evaluation of degraded visual environment

Measures the concentration of dust particles in the air or water in real-time to provide density information


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A transmissometer (often referred to as a transmittance or haze meter) is an instrument for measuring the extinction coefficient of the atmosphere and for the determination of visual range. They are in common use near airport runways to inform pilots and traffic controllers as to visibility (runway visual range). The device typically operates by sending a narrow, collimated beam of energy (usually a laser) through the air. A narrow field of view receiver at the designated distance measures how much energy is arriving at the detector, and determines the path transmission and/or extinction coefficient.

There are no commercial instruments currently available to provide real-time dust density distribution over a larger area. Point sampling transmissometers are sometimes used; however, the spatial samplings from these types of devices are finite and typically limited by beam and detector size. Additionally, the spatial resolution provided by point sampling transmissometers is limited.

To address the above deficiencies, Navy researchers have developed a distributive transmissometer which includes a series of light emitting diodes, an imaging device, and a lens. The LEDs illuminate and map out a volume of space to be sampled to a one-dimensional space. The one-dimensional space is mapped to the imaging device such that the dust density distribution of the area can be determined. The lens is for focusing light emitted by the LEDs toward the imaging device. This transmissometer operates in real-time and is nearly instantaneous in its ability to sample the environment. In addition to monitoring near-ground visibility, it can be used to monitor the deposition of an industrial material, such as plasma coatings or powder coatings in a closed chamber.

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