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A more sensitive sensor for ions in solution

By Paul Grad |

A research team from the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, and the School of Chemistry and Physics, the University of Adelaide, South Australia (www.adelaide.edu.au) has combined suspended-core microstructured optical fibers (MOFs) with photoinduced electron transfer (PET) to demonstrate a new type of fluorescent optical fiber-dip sensor for small volume ion detection. Led by professor Tanya Monro, the team’s research is expected to lead to optical fiber dip-sensors that combine the advantages of MOFs with the benefits of the fluorescence PET effect for biological, chemical and environmental sensing applications. Small-core MOFs with relatively large air holes surrounding the core can enable close interaction of liquids loaded into the holes, with a portion of the guided light located in these voids. The liquids can contain optically or chemically active materials (or both) that facilitate interrogation of the species of interest at nano- to micro-liter volume scales. The PET effect is a well-established tool for fluorescent molecular sensing and successful commercial PET systems have been developed for sodium, potassium, and calcium sensing. However, the Adelaide team believes it is the first to demonstrate a PET-based…
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