A sensing device for sensing an environmental factor. The device includes a retroreflective layer disposed in a parallel, facing relationship with a sensing layer. The sensing layer has an initial optical absorption capacity for (i) sensing a presence of an environmental factor, (ii) experiencing a change in optical absorption capacity responsive to said environmental factor, and (iii) transmitting and attenuating light. A first portion of the sensing layer is sealed off from exposure to the environment while a second portion remains exposed to the environment such that, when the environmental factor is present, the first portion of the sensing layer is prevented from experiencing a change in optical absorption capacity responsive to said environmental factor. Well-collimated light beams are passed through the sensing layer and are reflected back from the retroreflective layer for processing. When the environmental factor is present, the beams which pass through the second portion are attenuated responsive to an increase in optical absorption capacity and are compared with the non-attenuated beams passing through the first portion to calculate the presence and quantity of the environmental factor.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC07-94ID13223 between Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company and The United States Department of Energy.