Picarro Blog

Ed Wahl, 20 Years a Picarroan!

Date: March 4, 2021

Google “Laser-Based Diagnostics of Diamond Synthesis Reactors” and one of the first things you’ll see is Ed Wahl’s Stanford PhD thesis from 2001. Back then he was applying Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) to measure absolute CH3 and CH radical concentrations and temperatures in a hot-filament CVD (HFCVD) reactor. Today, he’s Director of Test and Manufacturing Technology for Picarro where, instead of applying it to his research, he’s in charge of building it into Picarro analyzers for customers to use in their research. This month he’s celebrating 20 years with Picarro, and we couldn’t be happier to have benefited from his dedication and expertise.

Since joining Picarro in 2001, Ed has been instrumental in helping Picarro expand its product line. But his work on Picarro’s carbon dioxide isotope instruments has been the most rewarding.

“When we first looked at building a carbon dioxide (CO2) isotope analyzer, we intended to target breath analysis. But after some intense market research, we changed our strategy to analysis of ambient levels of CO2.  We knew it would be a challenge to meet the exacting requirements of this application so there was some resistance to pursuing this type of analyzer. But I was confident that our customers would find multiple applications for our technology, and today, it’s one of our most successful product lines. We have built over 600 isotopic carbon dioxide analyzers and they have been used for many applications including agriculture and soil science, ocean science, paleoclimatology, emissions quantification, food and beverage analysis, and others.”

In addition to taking on and solving technical challenges, one of Ed’s favorite parts of his job is working with customers, and especially surprising and delighting them. He recounted how he once visited a professor to install an analyzer. The professor set up a video camera on a tripod to film the installation, explaining that he wanted to make sure he knew how to handle the complex setup, monitoring and adjusting of the analyzer. To the professor’s surprise, Ed informed him that all that wasn’t necessary, pretty much all he had to do was turn it on and start using it.

When he’s not building and testing the newest Picarro instruments, Ed likes to take in a San Francisco Giants baseball game with his wife. Go Giants! But, Ed, stay at Picarro.

Thank you Ed for 20 years of excellent service!