Optical pH Sensors
An optical pH sensor basically comprises two essential parts: A pH sensitive sensor layer and a read-out device (pH meter).
The pH meter consist of a LED and photodiode which excites the compounds in the pH sensor and detects its luminescence emission. The excitation and emission light is transmitted via an optical fiber between the sensor dye and the pH meter.
The optical pH sensor is based on the successful PyroScience REDFLASH technology. The sensor consists of a pH insensitive reference indicator and a pH sensitive luminescent dye. Both are excited with red-light (more precisely: orange-red at a wavelength of 610-630 nm) and show bright luminescence in the near infrared (NIR, 760-790 nm). If the pH indicator is de-pronated at high pH, its fluorescence is quenched and only the NIR emission of the reference indicator is measured. If the pH gets more acidic, the pH indicator is protonated and emits bright NIR luminescence and the emission of both indicators is detected.
The REDFLASH technology impresses by its high accuracy, high reliability and low power consumption. The red-light excitation of the REDFLASH indicators significantly reduces interferences caused by autofluorescence and reduces background fluorescence from biological samples / media. The measuring principle is based on a sinusoidally modulated red excitation light. This results in a phase-shifted sinusoidally modulated emission in the NIR. The PyroScience read-out device (FireSting pro) measures this phase shift, which is then calculated into pH.
Optical pH sensors are sensitive to a pH range of 2-3 pH units. Sensors are offered for two different ranges for pH measurements
between pH 6.0 to 8.0 (-PK7 version) and pH 7.0 to 9.0 (-PK8 version). Depending on the application it is important to choose the right version.
Calibration of both versions is performed at low pH values (completely protonated indicator dye) and at high pH values
(completely de-protonated indicator dye). For this reason, it is possible to use the same pH buffer capsules (PHCAL4 and PHCAL10) for both pH sensor versions.