Quantum Cascade Lasers-Based Detection of Nitric Oxide

  • Gracia Montilla-Bascón
  • Julien Mandon
  • Frans J. M. Harren
  • Luis A. J. Mur
  • Simona M. Cristescu
  • Elena PratsEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1747)


Despite the established importance of nitric oxide (NO) in many physiological and molecular processes in plants, most methods for quantifying NO are open to criticism This reflects the differing methods either lacking specificity or sensitivity, or even from an undue dependence of results on experimental conditions (i.e., chemical concentrations, pH, etc.). In this chapter we describe a protocol to measure gaseous NO produced by a biological sample using quantum cascade laser (QCL)-based spectroscopy. This technique is based on absorption of the laser light by the NO molecules which have been passed from a biological sample into an optical s cell that is equipped with two mirrors placed at both ends. This design greatly increases the interaction path length with the NO molecules due to multiple reflections of the light coupled inside the cell. Thus, the method is able to provide online, in planta measurements of the dynamics of NO production, being highly selective and sensitive (down to ppbv levels;1 ppbv = part per billion by volume mixing ratio = 1:10−9).

Key words

Nitric oxide Quantum cascade laser Laser based infrared spectroscopy Multipass cell Drought stress 



This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness [AGL2016-78965-R], and the European Regional Development Funds, province of Gelderland [2009-010034]. The work of LM was supported by the BBSRC LINK Grant (BB/I016937/1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gracia Montilla-Bascón
    • 1
  • Julien Mandon
    • 2
  • Frans J. M. Harren
    • 2
  • Luis A. J. Mur
    • 3
  • Simona M. Cristescu
    • 2
  • Elena Prats
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable AgricultureSpanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC)CórdobaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Molecular and Laser PhysicsRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural SciencesUniversity of AberystwythAberystwythUK

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