Friday, February 10, 2012: 04:11:04 PM


Ocean Optics Introduces Optical Oxygen and pH Sensors

Ocean Optics—aleading supplier of solutions for optical sensing—has launched optical oxygen and pH sensors for monitoring of food and fermentation processes. These sensors are designed for accurate, real-time, in situ measurements in various media.

Compared with traditional electrochemical sensing techniques such as galvanic sensors, Ocean Optics’ optical sensors can be made in small and customisable form factors, and also allow non-intrusive measurements.

The proprietary sensor coating materials do not consume the sample and can be applied to substrates such as probes, self-adhesive acrylic patches as well as microtitre wells. Coating options are available for general laboratory use, food processing lines and hydrocarbon-rich environments.

Depending on the application, oxygen presence or pH can be visually determined by colour change with a handheld LED, or a fluorometer can be utilised to make exact measurements.

The principle of operation is to trap an oxygen-sensitive fluorophore or pH indicator dye in a sol-gel host matrix that can be applied to the tip of a fibre, an adhesive membrane such as a patch or a flat substrate such as a cuvette. The indicator materials change optical properties in response to specific analytes in their immediate environment, and subsequently the response is measured electronically. For oxygen, the NeoFox Phase Fluorometer measures the partial pressure of dissolved or gaseous oxygen. While for pH, a miniature fibre optic spectrometer measures the colourimetric (absorbance) response of the pH dye.

Ocean Optics optical oxygen and pH patches overcome the limitations of electrochemical-based oxygen and pH sensing. Such patches can be integrated conveniently within a small-scale biosystem such as a bioflask used for fermentation and provide continuous, non-intrusive monitoring of key system parameters. Monitoring of dissolved oxygen and pH in real time without perturbing a sealed environment can lead to an improved understanding of the processes in a bioreactor. This helps facilitate the development of new biological products and fermentation processes. Advances in highperformance sensor materials and optoelectronics have enabled novel optical sensors to be used in myriad applications, including life sciences, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food and beverage processing and more.

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