Within the Built and Natural Environment early analysis of structural conditions, air quality monitoring,
pollutant and irritant detection by optical sensor technology is advancing. Combining the two technologies,
Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) and Surface Enhance Raman Scattering (SERS) into a single instrument
is the aim of the research, with a resulting fingerprint library of measurands being produced.
The combo sensor will provide unique fingerprints of the measurands, monitoring conditions, such as the
carbonation of concrete, microbial and chemical loading and ageing effects of structures, along with their
severity. Analysed conditions will be crossed referenced with the library allowing smart feedback for timely
SPR and SERS work on the principle that specific surfaces, when excited by a light source passing through a
glass prism, will change their rate and scale of vibration when their surface holds or is contaminated by
particular a component, in this case the monitoring condition analyte. A ligand, which binds specifically to
the monitoring analyte, is held in specialised surface coatings which are applied to the surface of the sensor
glass or prism itself. The sensing takes place through detection of differences in the original laser light
source and reflections/refractions of that light source from the glass prisms.
The advances and obstacles of early research are discussed along with initial results and findings being
examined in the development a new optical combo sensor.