We report the development of a low cost plastic optical fibre (POF) sensor for ammonium detection using molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP’s). The cladding of a 1 mm diameter PMMA fiber is removed, in which is grafted a molecular imprinted polymer (MIP), by radical polymerization with thermal initiation, that act as a selective sensing layer. For the polymerization, 2,2’-Azobis(2-methylpropionamidine)dihydrochloride (AAPH) is used as initiator, methacrylic acid (MAA) as a monomer, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EDMA) as a cross-linker, ammonium chloride (NH<sub>4</sub>Cl) as a template and 30% of ethanol in water as a solvent. The sensing method consists of an intensity based scheme. The response to different concentrations of ammonium solutions in water has been evaluated at room temperature. Solutions with (0 - 0.6) M concentration, with the corresponding refractive indexes varying between 1.3325 - 1.3387, at 25°C were used. The response of the fiber with the original cladding, and after cladding removal has been monitored and compared to the response given by the developed sensor. The response is very fast, less than 1 minute and reversible, which allows the continuum use of the sensor. Further developments are focused in optimization of MIP grafting procedure and sensor performance, in order to increase sensitivity.
A new approach for data analysis and classification for datasets obtained by a multiparameter optical turbidity sensor is proposed. This approach is based on the combination of statistical or machine learning methods such as linear regressions and clustering analysis. A case study is presented using a 6 dimensional fiber optic sensor to simultaneously classify types of sediments and concentration. Results show a 79% of success for the used training data sets. The methodology proposed is flexible because can be easily adapted to other physical scenarios.
Currently, the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) based sensors are mainly focused in visible frequencies, being a barrier for a better integration with the typical fiber optical communication transmission bands. Here, it is presented a theoretical analysis of a SPR based fiber optic sensor with a uniform gold coating on a U-shaped probe. The sensor does not require any fiber etching treatment which eases and improves the control of the overall process. The response of the device to refractive index variations was investigated and a resolution of 10<sup>-8</sup> is foreseen for refractive indices around 1.413, becoming the proposed sensor a useful tool for biological and chemical applications.