Block Engineering's LaserWarn Environmental Gas Monitor Wins Prism Award
Marlborough, MA – February 8, 2018
Block Engineering, LLC (Block) has won the SPIE 2018 Best Product Prism Award for Environmental Monitoring. The award was given to Block for its LaserWarn™ Analyzer based on next generation quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). The prize was announced on January 31st, 2018 at a black-tie gala in San Francisco, held during SPIE's Photonics West Conference, the largest event in the field.
LaserWarn offers a unique capability for detecting industrial leaks as well as protecting critical facilities against chemical attacks and toxic chemical releases. The system uses Mid-Infrared (MIR) QCLs, which, when combined with unique algorithms, can detect and identify thousands of gases in seconds. These eye-safe lasers can be set up in or around a facility creating an invisible mesh (i.e. a "chemical tripwire") covering thousands of square feet. When a chemical plume crosses any of the laser beams (i.e. "trips the wire"), alarms or chemical identification are generated.
LaserWarn can monitor the environment around chemical plants or cities for pollutants and toxic chemical releases and protect large, critical facilities such as transportation terminals, stadiums, malls, federal buildings, military bases against chemical attacks. The LaserWarn library currently consists of 63 chemicals, and numerous new chemicals can be added to the on-board chemical library using commercially available chemical signatures. Because LaserWarn operates in the MIR "fingerprint" region, thousands of chemicals can potentially be detected.
Dr. Petros Kotidis, Block's CEO commented, "We are honored to receive this prestigious award and it serves as a validation of the strong impact that LaserWarn is expected to have in the Environmental Monitoring markets. The launch of this product has been the result of a great team effort at Block and I am really proud of the accomplishments of our staff. I am grateful to SPIE and Laurin Publishing for this recognition and I look forward to future installations of LaserWarn Analyzers."
"This year's winning products – and indeed those of all the finalists – once again demonstrate the impressive ingenuity and creativity of engineers and inventors in our field," said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs of the 2018 Prism Awards. "SPIE's mission has always been to provide connections and information to help facilitate research advances and invention in our field, and we are delighted to do so once again through the Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation."
Speaking broadly about the Prism Award winners, Thomas Laurin, president and CEO of Laurin Publishing, stated, "These Prism Award-winning products and the companies behind them have reached new heights of technical achievement and innovation and have risen to the top of an impressive field of entries. Photonics Media is proud to have stood with SPIE and the Prism Awards for 10 years in supporting breakthroughs like these that continue to transform the photonics industry and the world, and we extend our heartiest congratulations to the winners."
About Block Engineering LLC:
Block is a leading development, engineering and manufacturing company focusing on the commercialization of high performance Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) and FTIR spectrometers. Block has been awarded numerous government contracts over the past decade for the application of its technologies toward the detection of explosives, buried IEDs, chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial materials and chemical clouds. Block's PORTHOS™ is a person-portable, passive FTIR spectrometer system that remotely detects chemical threats as far as three miles and provides early warning of chemical warfare agents. LaserWarn™ is a QCL-based system that is used to provide early warning against chemical attacks by establishing a "chemical trip-wire" using eye-safe laser beams. It is also used for safety, environmental, and fence-line monitoring of toxic and fugitive gases over a large area. Block's unique QCL-based analyzers include the LaserSense™ Gas Analyzer for the detection and quantification of a wide variety of gases for process control and field applications in the oil, gas, and energy industries. The LaserTune™ product line of QCL-based Infrared Sources is used for corporate research and academic markets and OEM applications.