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New chemical sensors by combining IR absorption and reflectometric interference spectroscopy


The main objectives of the project proposal IRRIS - New chemical sensors by combining IR absorption and reflectometric interference spectroscopy - are the design and development of new sensory approaches based on IR absorption and reflectometric interference spectroscopy (RIfS) with the aim of rapid qualitative and quantitative analysis of gas mixtures as well as multi-analytes in solutions.

The proposed IR-RIfS sensors will outperform present commercial IR sensors, due to sensitivity and advantage of continuous, accurate qualitative and quantitative analysis. In contrast to other optical sensors with complicated receptor layers, multi-analytes will be discriminated directly by the detection method, after the adsorption of analytes into thin hydrophobic poly merlayers. The novel concept consists in the simultaneous recording of the IR absorption and the interference spectrum.

These two spectra are complementary; the IR spectrum contains molecular specific information, whereas the interferogram contains quantitative information, as it enables the monitoring of the physical layer thickness. The developed IR-RIfS sensors will be employed for the analysis of different gas mixtures, like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, mercaptan, refrigerants, alcohols, solvents or smoke. Such working set-ups can be used for bioreactions monitoring, as well as for continuous air monitoring in mines, or ventilation tubes in public locations (subway, supermarket, theatre).

In aqueous solutions, residues like benzene, toluene or xylene (BTX) will be analysed, and also beverages, like beer or juices, will be analysed for quality, safety and adulteration proofs. The innovative nature of the project will be also achieved by miniaturizing the IR-RIfS sensors employing Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) to obtain analyte specific information and the RIfS spectrum, for quantitative assessment.

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