Investigating the sensitivity of PMMA optical fibres for use as an evanescent field absorption sensor in aqueous solutions

P.G. Lye, M. Boerkamp, Allan Ernest, D.W. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) optical fibres are low-cost polymer fibres that are generally more physically robust than silica fibres, are more flexible, yet like silica fibres have the potential to be used for practical evanescent field absorption sensors in aqueous solutions.However, evanescent field absorption in aqueous solutions is influenced by more than just the specific absorptivity of the solution in question. The physical configuration of the optical fibre itself, as well as surface charge interactions between the fibre and the chromophore in the solution also significantly affects the sensitivity of the fibre to evanescent field absorption.This paper reports on an investigation of numerous physical phenomena that influence evanescent field absorption for PMMA fibres using an aqueous solution of the dye Amidoblack.Parameters investigated included fibre coiling configuration and bend radius, fibre interaction length, and effect of solution pH. Coiled fibres were found to be more sensitive to evanescent field absorption than straight (uncoiled) lengths, and sensitivity was found to increase with a further reduction in bend radius. At high solution pH, the absorption versus solution concentration proved to be linear whereas at low pH the absorption versus concentration relationship exhibited a clear deviation from linearity. The observed nonlinearity at low pH points to the importance of accounting for electrostatic interactions between chromophore and fibre surface when designing a PMMA sensor for evanescent field absorption measurements in aqueous solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-269
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physics
Issue number2005
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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