HORIBA develops IRLAM™ technology to bring new value in gas analysis with the first four products equipped with IRLAM technology

|   Press Release

HORIBA, Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "HORIBA") today announced that it has developed an innovative proprietary gas analysis technology called InfraRed Laser Absorption Modulation (IRLAM™*1) and will launch four new products on July 29th as the first products equipped with this technology.

IRLAM, a new infrared gas measurement technology invented by HORIBA, utilizes HORIBA's gas measurement technologies and know-how cultivated over 65 years to realize high sensitivity, low interference and high reliability that enable real-time measurement of gases that were difficult to measure with conventional infrared gas analysis technologies.
IRLAM has been put to practical use as a highly reliable infrared gas analysis technology that enables accurate and speedy measurements with low interference even in harsh operating environments, and has led to the commercialization of products such as the world's first*2 vehicle-mounted exhaust gas measurement system equipped with IRLAM technology. With its many noteworthy advantages, HORIBA will incorporate this IRLAM technology into many of our gas analyzers that will be released in the future as a new core technology of HORIBA.

*1 IRLAM is a registered trademark or trademark of HORIBA, Ltd. in Japan and/or other countries.
*2 According to our research (as of July 2021)

Background of the development of IRLAM

Gas analysis is an indispensable technology in all industries, and it plays an extremely important role in the development of next-generation energy sources such as hydrogen which is accelerating around the world as we strive to achieve carbon neutrality, in the monitoring of industrial processes to save resources and reduce environmental impact, and in the strengthening of environmental regulations. HORIBA's accumulated technology in the field of infrared gas analysis has been enhanced, optimized, and reinvented as IRLAM technology.

1. Three Pillars that realize the Advantages of IRLAM Technology

1. High speed and high accuracy gas concentration calculation algorithm (Patented *)
Inspired by advanced AI data analysis methods, HORIBA has established a unique gas concentration calculation algorithm.
Customer Values: 
(1) Significantly reduced calculation time compared to conventional methods.
(2) Highly accurate measurement of the concentration of the target gas even when various interfering gases (gases not to be measured) are included.
(3) Simplified and high-speed calculation enables correction calculation in response to changes in various environmental conditions. 
* Japan Patent No. 6886507, US Patent No. 11030423, EU/China/India: Patent Pending

2. Compact Herriott cell for high sensitivity and high speed measurement (Patented*)
For IRLAM, HORIBA adopted the original "Herriott Cell," which can obtain a long optical path length by using multiple reflections from mirrors installed inside the gas cell. By optimizing the design of the mirrors, it became possible to secure an optical path length of more than 5 meters, while reducing the internal volume to one-fifth of the conventional size, making it a unique compact Herriott Cell. 
Customer Values:
(1) Strength in the analysis of low-concentration gases, a growing need against the backdrop of tighter regulations (Analysis of low-concentration gases requires a longer optical path).
(2) By reducing the volume of the cell, the response time is improved, enabling faster measurement of even small amounts of gas. Ideal for portable analyzers that require real-time measurement, such as on-board exhaust gas measurement devices.
* US Patent No. 10551299, Japan/EU/China/India: Patent Pending

3. Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) manufactured in-house to meet a wide range of gas measurement needs
By establishing the technology to manufacture QCLs dedicated to infrared gas analysis purpose in-house, HORIBA can freely customize QCLs with wavelengths that match the type of gas to be measured and the concentration range.
Customer Values:
(1) Many gases show the strongest absorption in the mid-infrared region. Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL), which can emit light in the mid-infrared region, are considered the most suitable light source for gas analysis to acquire intensive absorption signals.
(2) HORIBA can flexibly respond to the various gas analysis needs of our customers.

Optical Configuration of IRLAM Gas Analyzer

(1) Infrared light emitted from the QCL is injected into the Herriott Cell.
(2) The gas to be analyzed is introduced into the Herriott Cell, and the infrared light is absorbed by the gas in a long optical path while being reflected many times.
(3) The absorbed infrared signal is acquired by the detector, and the concentration of the gas to be analyzed is calculated.

2. New Products Equipped with IRLAM Technology

As the first products equipped with this innovative IRLAM technology, we have launched four new products from our Automotive and Process & Environmental segments. They will contribute to carbon neutrality and the reduction of environmental impact, such as more efficient energy use and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and hazardous substances.

1. Process Gas Laser Analyzer PLGA-1000 (from Process & Environmental Segment) 
In petrochemical plants, improving productivity, quality, and reducing environmental impact are urgent issues, and gas measurement with high response and sensitivity is required to optimize the control of each production process. 
This product measures feedstock gases used in petrochemical plants, and can continuously measure acetylene (C2H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2), which exist as impurities in methane (CH4) and ethane (C2H6) at low concentrations, with high speed (response every 3 seconds) and high sensitivity (in ppb level). This contributes to the optimization of process control for customers. 

2. On-board Emissions Measurement System OBS-ONE-XL (from Automotive Segment)
Euro 7, the new emission regulation scheduled to be enforced in Europe in 2025, is expected to further tighten the RDE (Real Driving Emissions) test, which measures exhaust gas while driving on the road. In the future, there is a possibility that Japan and China will follow suit and tighten their regulations, making it an urgent need to respond. This product is capable of measuring ammonia (NH3) and nitrous oxide (N2O), which are new items to be added to the Euro 7 RDE test. In addition, it has high reliability to cope with the harsh operating environment (high temperature, high pressure, vibration of the car body, etc.) required in the RDE test.

3.Motor Exhaust Gas Analyzer MEXA-ONE XLA-13H and XLA-11 unit (from Automotive Segment)
The MEXA-ONE stationary Motor Exhaust Gas Analyzer is now expanded to include new measurement items that are expected to be incorporated in Euro 7. The XLA-13H can measure formaldehyde (HCHO), and the XLA-11 can measure nitrous oxide (N2O) with high accuracy.
While electrification in the automotive industry is progressing, improving the environmental performance of internal combustion engine vehicles, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, is also playing a major role. Through the development of the above three products, which are at the forefront of regulatory compliance, we will lead the market as a leading company in exhaust gas measurement equipment. 

Process Laser Gas Analyzer PLGA-1000
Motor Exhaust Gas Analyzer MEXA-ONE N2O Analyzer XLA-11 Formaldehyde (HCHO) Analyzer XLA-13H