The PiSpec: A Low-Cost, 3D-Printed Spectrometer for Measuring Volcanic SO2 Emission Rates

Wilkes, Thomas Charles and Pering, Tom David and McGonigle, Andrew John Samuel and Willmott, Jon Raffe and Bryant, Robert and Smalley, Alan Lomas and Mims III, Forrest Marion and Parisi, Alfio V. and England, Rebecca Anne (2019) The PiSpec: A Low-Cost, 3D-Printed Spectrometer for Measuring Volcanic SO2 Emission Rates. Frontiers in Earth Science, 7:65. pp. 1-12.

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Abstract

Spectroscopy has been used to quantify volcanic gas emission rates, most commonly SO2, for a number of decades. Typically, commercial spectrometers costing 1000s USD are employed for this purpose. The PiSpec is a new, custom-designed, 3D-printed spectrometer based on smartphone sensor technology. This unit has ≈1 nm spectral resolution and a spectral range in the ultraviolet of ≈280–340 nm, and is specifically configured for the remote sensing of SO2 using Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS). Here we report on the first field deployment of the PiSpec on a volcano, to demonstrate the proof of concept of the device’s functionality in this application area. The study was performed on Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua, which is one of the largest emitters of SO2 on the planet, during a period of elevated activity where a lava lake was present in the crater. Both scans and traverses were performed, with resulting emission rates ranging from 3.2 to 45.6 kg s−1 across two measurement days; these values are commensurate with those reported elsewhere in the literature during this activity phase (Aiuppa et al., 2018; Stix et al., 2018). Furthermore, we tested the PiSpec’s thermal stability, finding a wavelength shift of 0.046 nm/∘C between 2.5 and 45∘C, which is very similar to that of some commercial spectrometers. Given the low build cost of these units (≈500 USD for a one-off build, with prospects for further price reduction with volume manufacture), we suggest these units hold considerable potential for volcano monitoring operations in resource limited environments.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences (1 Jul 2013 - 5 Sep 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences (1 Jul 2013 - 5 Sep 2019)
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 07:36
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 02:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: UV spectroscopy, DOAS, sulphur dioxide, volcanic emissions, Masaya volcano, smartphone sensor, Raspberry Pi, 3D printing
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
02 Physical Sciences > 0299 Other Physical Sciences > 029999 Physical Sciences not elsewhere classified
04 Earth Sciences > 0499 Other Earth Sciences > 049999 Earth Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2019.00065
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36301

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