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Optical fiber waveguide sensor for the colorimetric detection of ammonia

: Schmitt, K.; Rist, J.; Peter, C.; Wöllenstein, J.


Schmid, U. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Smart sensors, actuators, and MEMS V : 18-20 April 2011, Prague, Czech Republic
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2011 (Proceedings of SPIE 8066)
ISBN: 978-0-8194-8655-4
Paper 80661Y
Conference "Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS" <5, 2011, Prague>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IPM ()
gas sensor; waveguide sensor; colorimetric sensor; fiber optic; ammonia

We present the development and characterization of a fiber-optic colorimetric gas sensor combined with the electronic circuitry for measurement control and RFID communication. The gas sensor detects ammonia using a 300 µm polyolefin fiber coated with a gas-sensitive polymer film. The spectral and time-dependent sensitivity of various polymer films was tested in transmission measurements. Light from a standard LED at Lambda = 590 nm was coupled into the polyolefin fiber through the front face. A prototype of the gas sensor with the direct coupling method was tested under realistic measurement conditions, i.e. battery-driven and in a completely autonomous mode. The sensor system showed good sensitivity to the ammonia concentrations and response times in the order of minutes. The achieva ble power consumption was below 100μW.The films contained the pH-sensitive dyes bromocresol purple or bromophenol blue embedded in either ethyl cellulose or polyvinyl butyral, and optionally tributyl phosphate as plasticizer. The bromophenol blue based films showed a strong reaction to ammonia, with saturation concentrations around 1000 ppm and response times of about 15 seconds to 100ppm. The colorimetric reaction was simulated using a simple kinetic model which was in good agreement with the experimental results.