Development of a Fiber Optic Sensor for Detection of General Anesthetics and Other Small Organic Molecules

  • Sabina Merlo
  • Paul Yager
  • Lloyd W. Burgess


We have demonstrated a fiber optic sensor for general anesthetics and other small organic molecules based on the sensitivity of the phase transitions of phospholipids to the presence of such molecules. An aqueous dispersion of phospholipids that exhibit a phase transition near the desired operating temperature is used as a transducing element at the end of two optical fibers. Agarose gel is used to immobilize liposomes labeled with a fluorescent dye sensitive to the phase state of the bilayer in which it is embedded. The ratio of the fluorescence intensity at two wavelengths exhibits a nearly linear dependance on clinically relevant concentrations of volatile anesthetics over a physiological range of temperatures. The probe has been tested in both gas and liquid phases, and should operate in blood and tissue, allowing development of a practical device for rapid in vivo monitoring of general anesthetics.


Phase Transition Temperature Volatile Anesthetic Fiber Optic Sensor Lipid Mixture Small Organic Molecule 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabina Merlo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul Yager
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lloyd W. Burgess
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for BioengineeringUniversity of WashingtonUSA
  2. 2.The Washington Technology CenterUSA
  3. 3.Center for Process Analytical ChemistryUniversity of WashingtonUSA

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