A nondispersive infrared sensor (or NDIR sensor) is a simple spectroscopic sensor often used as a gas detector. It is nondispersive in the sense of optical dispersion since the infrared energy is allowed to pass through the atmospheric sampling chamber without deformation.
The main components of an NDIR sensor are an infrared source (lamp), a sample chamber or light tube, a light filter and an infrared detector. The IR light is directed through the sample chamber towards the detector. In parallel there is another chamber with an enclosed reference gas, typically nitrogen.
The gas in the sample chamber causes absorption of specific wavelengths according to the Beer–Lambert law, and the attenuation of these wavelengths is measured by the detector to determine the gas concentration. The detector has an optical filter in front of it that eliminates all light except the wavelength that the selected gas molecules can absorb.
The IR signal from the source is usually chopped or modulated so that thermal background signals can be offset from the desired signal.
Figure : NDIR-analyzer with one double tube for CO and another double tube for hydrocarbons