Optical Chemical Sensors

  • B. D. MacCraith
  • C. McDonagh


Optical chemical sensors have been the focus of much research attention in recent years because of their importance in industrial, environmental and biomedical applications [1]. 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.


Sensor Film Pressure Sensitive Paint Oxygen Sensitivity Optical Chemical Sensor Indicator Molecule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    B. Valeur, Molecular Fluorescence: Principles and Applications, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim (2002)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    R. Zusman, C. Rottman, M. Ottolenghi, D. Avnir, Doped sol-gel glasses as chemical sensors, J. Non.-Cryst. Solids, 122, 107 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. D. MacCraith, Optical chemical sensors based on sol-gel-derived films, in: MP Andrews, SI Najafi (Eds.), Sol-Gel and Polymer Photonic Devices, SPIE, Bellingham, Washington (1997)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    C. J. Brinker, G. W. Scherer, Sol-Gel Science, Academic Press, New York (1990)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    C. McDonagh, F. Sheridan, T. Butler, B. D. MacCraith, Characterisation of sol-gel-derived silica films, J. Non-Cryst. Solids, 194, 72 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    R. M. Almeida, X. Orignac, D. Barbier, Silica-based sol-gel films doped with active elements, J. Sol-Gel Sci. Technol., 2, 1–3, 465 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. Hradil, C. Davis, K. Mongey, C. McDonagh, B.D. MacCraith, Temperature-corrected pressure sensitive paint measurements using a single camera and a dual lifetime approach, Meas. Sci. Technol., 13 (10), 1552 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    A. Atkinson, J. Doorbar, A. Hudd, D. L. Segal, P. J. White, Continuous Ink-Jet Printing using Sol-gel Ceramic Links, J. Sol-Gel Sci. Technol., 8, 1093 (1997)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. Bromberg, J. Zilberstein, S. Reisemberg, E. Benori, W. Silberstein, J. Zimnavoda, G. Frishman, A. Kritzman, Optical-fiber sensors for blood gases and pH, based on porous glass tips, Sensors and Actuators B, 31, 181 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    C. Malins, S. Fanni, H. Glever, J. Vos, B. D. MacCraith, The preparation of a sol-gel glass oxygen sensor incorporating a covalently bound fluorescent dye, Anal. Commun., 36 (3–4), 3 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    C. McDonagh, P. Bowe, K. Mongey and B. D. MacCraith, Characterisation of porosity and sensor response times of sol-gel-derived thin films for oxygen sensor applications, J. Non-Cryst. Solids, 306 (2), 138 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    C. McDonagh, B.D. Mac Craith, A. K. McEvoy, Tailoring of sol-gel films for optical sensing of oxygen in gas and aqueous phase, Anal. Chem., 70, 45 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    T.M. Butler, B.D. MacCraith, C. McDonagh, Leaching in sol-gel-derived silica films for optical pH sensors, J. Non-Cryst. Solids, 224, 249 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    A. K. McEvoy, C. McDonagh, B. D. MacCraith, Dissolved oxygen sensor based on fluorescence quenching of oxyen-sensitive ruthenium complexes immobilised in sol-gel-derived porous silica coatings, Analyst, 121, 785 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    K. Matsui, M. Tominaga, Y. Arai, H. Satoh, M. Kyoto, Fluorescence of pyrene in sol-gel silica derived from triethoxysilane, J. Non-Cryst. Solids, 169, 295 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    P. Lnnocenzi, M. O. Abdirashid, M. Guglielmi, Structure and properties of sol-gel coatings from methyltriethoxysilane and tetraethoxysilane, J. Sol-Gel Sci. Technol. 3, 47 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    B. D. MacCraith, Enhanced evanescent wave sensors based on sol-gel-derived porous glass coatings, Sensors and Actuators B, 11, 29 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    J. F. Gouin, A. Doyle and B. D. MacCraith, Fluorescence capture by planar waveguide as platform for optical sensors, Electronics Letters, 34 (17), 1685 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    L. Polerecky, Optimization of multimode waveguide platforms for optical chemical sensors and biosensors, Ph.D Thesis, Dublin City University, Ireland (2002)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. D. MacCraith
  • C. McDonagh

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations