UK made: Sensor measures 2-3ppm ammonia

Built around a tuneable laser diode, ‘Laser 3 Plus Environmental’ is a two-part device that beams and receives a laser that passes though process gas – across the exhaust vent, for example.

It is used as the sensor in industrial processes – specifically the ‘ammonia slip de-NOx’ process – where ammonia emission needs to be maintained between 2 and 3ppm.

The instrument, made in Crowborough, East Sussex, is a sophisticated electro-optical-mechanical assembly that can operate across a wide temperature range and in the dusty exhaust vent environment.


Based in Crowborough, Servomex was founded in 1952 by three partners as a manufacturer of capacitor boxes, waveform generators and mains voltage stabilizers. In 1961 it produced its first gas sensor – a paramagnetic oxygen sensor.

It acquired Contrôle Analytique in 2007, built a technology centre in Crowborough in 2008, and  acquired Delta F in 2010 – the latter with a technology and manufacturing site in Massachusetts.

Since 1999 Servomex has been a part of Surrey-based Spectris, which has ~9,000 people over more than 30 countries. As part of this, Servomex has business, service and systems engineering centres based in Shanghai, Texas, the Netherlands, Mumbai, Brazil and Singapore, and owns the Hummingbird medical and industrial components brand.


Laser 3 Plus Environmental is aimed at the US market.

According to the company, although ammonia is not currently regulated as a hazardous air pollutant under the US clean air act, some US states and regulatory agencies regard it as a precursor pollutant for the creation of PM2.5 particulate matter, and consider 5ppm ammonia as a eye and respiratory irritant. The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends that analysers be used for continuous ammonia, and there is a standard (‘PS18’) for this.

The sensor comes with auto-validation software that allows continuous emissions monitoring, as well as daily quality tests – something required by ‘Procedure 6’ US legislation.

“This will allow our customers to meet or even exceed the performance requirements of EPA PS18 for cross stack continuous emissions monitoring,” according to Servomex spectroscopic product manager Rhys Jenkins.

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