Saudi Aramco Review

LOF goes mobile

BUILT in 2010, DesertRay is the result of pioneering work carried out by laser scientists at Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development Centre (R&DC).

This mobile system allows the company to identify oil contamination by analysing oil samples and checking for any changes to the oil’s unique ‘fingerprint’.

DesertRay can make a diagnosis within 30 seconds. This quick turnaround time means Aramco can make better decisions leading to faster solutions.

In 2006 Saudi Aramco was already leading the world with its award-winning laser oil fingerprinting (LOF) technology which allowed it to construct unique ‘fingerprints’ specific to each kind of oil.

LOF uses short laser pulses to induce light signal responses from oils; this then gives the ‘fingerprint’. With LOF one can characterise and identify oils and blends.

Making the technology mobile so the company could check for oil contamination in the field was the next step. So Aramco’s scientists developed a way to utilise the LOF technology in a stand-alone transportable instrument. After 12 months of work to fully integrate LOF technology, DesertRay was unveiled in February 2010.

The new mobile LOF device represented a giant step in automating LOF technology. It’s so unique that three patents were issued in its construction. By using innovative laser methods, DesertRay examines the laser-induced fluorescence spectra of oils within 2-5 nanoseconds – one nanosecond being equal to one billionth of a second.

The data is then analysed to produce two-dimensional contour diagrams which act as spectral fingerprints of the oils.

DesertRay can then immediately alert scientists to any change in the oil which can occur through contamination or degradation. The process takes only 30 seconds.

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