Ratiometric fluorescence-based dissolved carbon dioxide sensor for use in environmental monitoring applications

Wencel, Dorota; Moore, John P.; Stevenson, Niall; McDonagh, Colette
November 2010
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Nov2010, Vol. 398 Issue 5, p1899
Academic Journal
The focus of this work is on the development and characterisation of a fluorescence-based ratiometric sol-gel-derived dissolved carbon dioxide (dCO) sensor for use in environmental monitoring applications. Fluorescence-based dCO sensors are attractive as they facilitate the development of portable and low-cost systems that can be easily deployed outside the laboratory environment. The sensor developed for this work exploits a pH fluorescent dye 1-hydroxypyrene-3,6,8-trisulfonic acid, ion-paired with cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (HPTS-IP), which has been entrapped in a hybrid sol-gel-based matrix derived from n-propyltriethoxysilane along with the liphophilic organic base. The sensor spot deposited on a cover slip has been interrogated with a robust, ratiometric optical probe that combines effective fluorescence excitation and detection and thus facilitates the production of a highly sensitive sensor system using low-cost optoelectronic components. The probe design involves the use of dual-LED excitation in order to facilitate ratiometric operation and uses a silicon PIN photodiode. HPTS-IP exhibits two pH-dependent changes in excitation bands, which allows for dual excitation ratiometric detection as an indirect measure of the dCO. Such measurements are insensitive to changes in dye concentration, leaching and photobleaching of the fluorophore and instrument fluctuations unlike unreferenced fluorescence intensity measurements. The performance of the sensor system is characterised by a high degree of repeatability, reversibility and stability. Calculated limit of detection for the sensor was 35 ppb. The sensor probe was used to monitor dCO levels in a laboratory-based aquatic habitat, and the expected diurnal pattern was clearly visible. The influence of temperature, biofouling and photobleaching on sensor performance has been also investigated.


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