Acutect: Continuous Open Path Methane Monitors

About Acutect

 Acutect Inc. is a San-Francisco-based startup company. The Acutect technology was selected one of the most-promising submissions received by EDF as part of the Methane Detectors Challenge.

“The Methane Detector’s Challenge created the framework through which I was able to bring together a Chinese manufacturer of laser-based methane detection components and a team of product development engineers from Carnegie-Mellon, Sensit,” said Peter Foller, founder of Acutect Inc. “After our technology successfully made it through third party testing during the Methane Detectors Challenge, Acutect, is now in licensing negotiations with a well-established supplier of industrial sensing solutions. We feel we will be able, together with this licensee, to go to market on a national scale.”

 How The Technology Works

Acutect Inc. has developed continuous open path monitors for methane that utilize laser absorption spectroscopy.


Laser absorption spectroscopy works by directing an infrared laser to a reflector that returns a signal to the monitor’s detector. The infrared laser signal is swept across an absorption peak, an electromagnetic wavelength, associated with methane. If methane is present, the reflected signal is attenuated, or weakened, whereas if no methane is detected, no such attenuation occurs.

By comparing the two signals, after appropriate filtration and averaging, the amount of methane present is calculated. These monitors do not require frequent calibration and only require a periodic wipe-down of dust from the reflectors and the solar panels used to maintain battery charge. Acutect’s units transmit analog or cellular signals for both raw data and real-time alerts.