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Sensors 2014, 14(2), 3077-3094; doi:10.3390/s140203077

An Optical Fiber-Based Sensor Array for the Monitoring of Zinc and Copper Ions in Aqueous Environments

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3210 N. Cramer Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
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Received: 27 December 2013 / Revised: 29 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 February 2014 / Published: 17 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Sensors for Industrial, Environmental and Health Monitoring)
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Abstract

Copper and zinc are elements commonly used in industrial applications as aqueous solutions. Before the solutions can be discharged into civil or native waterways, waste treatment processes must be undertaken to ensure compliance with government guidelines restricting the concentration of ions discharged in solution. While currently there are methods of analysis available to monitor these solutions, each method has disadvantages, be it high costs, inaccuracy, and/or being time-consuming. In this work, a new optical fiber-based platform capable of providing fast and accurate results when performing solution analysis for these metals is described. Fluorescent compounds that exhibit a high sensitivity and selectivity for either zinc or copper have been employed for fabricating the sensors. These sensors demonstrated sub-part-per-million detection limits, 30-second response times, and the ability to analyze samples with an average error of under 10%. The inclusion of a fluorescent compound as a reference material to compensate for fluctuations from pulsed excitation sources has further increased the reliability and accuracy of each sensor. Finally, after developing sensors capable of monitoring zinc and copper individually, these sensors are combined to form a single optical fiber sensor array capable of simultaneously monitoring concentration changes in zinc and copper in aqueous environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: optical fiber; fluorescent sensor; zinc; copper; optical time of flight detection; sensor array optical fiber; fluorescent sensor; zinc; copper; optical time of flight detection; sensor array
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kopitzke, S.; Geissinger, P. An Optical Fiber-Based Sensor Array for the Monitoring of Zinc and Copper Ions in Aqueous Environments. Sensors 2014, 14, 3077-3094.

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