This work aims to develop a stable, compact and portable fibre optic sensing system which is capable of real time detection of the mercury ion (II), Hg2+. A novel fluorescent polymeric material for Hg2+ detection, based on a coumarin derivative (acting as the fluorophore) and an azathia crown ether moiety (acting as the mercury ion receptor), has been designed and synthesized. The material was covalently attached to the distal end of an optical fibre and exhibited a significant increase in fluorescence intensity in response to Hg2+ in the μM concentration range via a photoinduced electron transfer (PET) mechanism. The sensor has also demonstrated a high selectivity for Hg2+ over other metal ions. A washing protocol was identified for sensor regeneration, allowing the probe to be re-used. The approach developed in this work can also be used for the preparation of sensors for other heavy metals.
An optrode able to detect glucose dissolved in water has been implemented. The device is based on the luminescence emission of a Molecularly Imprinted Polymer synthesized specifically for glucose detection, therefore its intensity changes in presence of glucose. This sensing material is attached onto a cleaved ended polymer-clad optical fibre and it is excited by light via 1x2 fibre coupler. The reflected fluorescence signal increases when it is immersed into glucose solutions and recovers to the baseline when it is dipped in ultrapure water. This reversible behaviour indicates the measurement repeatability of using such a glucose sensor.
An intensity ratio technique has been used for characterizing fluorescence spectra from novel coumarin dyes for pH sensing, in the range of 0.5 – 6, providing results that are independent of possible fluctuations in the intensity of the excitation source, deterioration of the indicator and changes in optical coupling. The arrangement was determined to have a sensitivity of 25% per unit pH change (at a pH of 4).
A proof-of-concept mercury probe was developed based on covalent attachment of a chemical coating to optical fibre. The sensing element comprised a dansyl derivative and crown ether moiety, acting as fluorophore and metal ion chelator respectively. An ON-OFF type fluorescence (quench) occurred upon binding of mercury ions, via an intramolecular charge transfer mechanism, in aqueous solution in the 909nM-90.9μM (247 ppb -24.7 ppm) concentration range. A washing protocol was identified for sensor regeneration allowing the probe to be re-used.
Previously, we have developed chemical sensors using fibre optic-based techniques for the detection of Cocaine, utilising molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) containing fluorescein moieties as the signalling groups. Here, we report the computational design of a fluorophore which was incorporated into a MIP for the generation of a novel sensor that offers improved sensitivity for Cocaine with a detection range of 1-100μM. High selectivity for Cocaine over a suite of known Cocaine interferants (25μM) was also demonstrated by measuring changes in the intensity of fluorescence signals received from the sensor.
A chemical sensor for the detection of cocaine has been developed, based on a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) containing a fluorescein moiety as the signalling group. The fluorescent MIP was formed and covalently attached to the distal end of an optical fibre. The sensor exhibited an increase in fluorescence intensity in response to cocaine in an aqueous acetonitrile mixture. Selectivity for cocaine over codeine has been demonstrated.