L. Davoine, M. Schnieper, A. Barranco, F.J. Aparicio
Proceedings of SPIE, 8073 (2011) 807312
doi: 10.1117/12.889358

A colorimetric sensor that provides a direct visual indication of chemical contamination was developed. The detection is based on the color change of the reflected light after exposure to a gas or a liquid. The sensor is a combination of a chemically sensitive dye layer and a subwavelength grating structure. To enhance the perception of color change, a reference area sealed under a non-contaminated atmosphere is used and placed next to the sensor. The color change is clearly visible by human eyes. The device is based on photonic resonant effects; the visible color is a direct reflection of some incoming light, therefore no additional supplies are needed. This makes it usable as a standalone disposable sensor. The dye thin film is deposited by Plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) on top of the subwavelength structure. The latter is made by combining a replication process of a Sol-Gel material and a thin film deposition. Lowcost fabrication and compatibility with environments where electricity cannot be used make this device very attractive for applications in hospitals, industries, with explosives and in traffic.

Visual gas sensors based on dye thin films and resonant waveguide gratings
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