Optical Chemical Sensors
Optical chemical sensors have been the focus of much research attention in recent years because of their importance in industrial, environmental and biomedical applications . This class of sensors combines chemical and biological recognition with advances in optoelectronic technologies. The application of solgel materials to these sensors, especially in the form of thin films, has attracted considerable interest due to the ease of fabrication and design flexibility of the process. The nature of the sol-gel process lends itself very well to the deposition of thin films using a variety of techniques such as dip-coating, spin-coating and spraying. In many sensor applications, the sol-gel film is used to provide a micro-porous support matrix in which analyte-sensitive molecules are entrapped and into which smaller analyte species may diffuse and interact [2,3]. Sol-gel films have many advantages as support matrices over polymer supports, including, for example, strong adhesion, good mechanical strength as well as excellent optical transparency. The versatility of the process facilitates tailoring of the physico-chemical film properties to optimize sensor performance. For example, films can be designed which have optimum porosity while minimizing leaching of the indicator molecules. In this chapter, the versatility of the sol-gel process with regard to the design of films for specific optical chemical sensor applications is highlighted.
KeywordsSensor Film Pressure Sensitive Paint Oxygen Sensitivity Optical Chemical Sensor Indicator Molecule
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