, Volume 362, Issue 4, pp 349-373

Optical waveguide sensors in analytical chemistry: today’s instrumentation, applications and trends for future development

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Current concepts for chemical and biochemical sensing based on detection with optical waveguides are reviewed. The goals are to provide a framework for classifying such sensors and to assist a designer in selecting the most suitable detection techniques and waveguide arrangements. Sensor designs are categorized on the basis of the five parameters that completely describe a light wave: its amplitude, wavelength, phase, polarization state and time-dependent waveform. In the fabrication of a successful sensor, the physical or chemical property of the determined species and the particular light wave parameter to detect it should be selected with care since they jointly dictate the sensitivity, stability, selectivity and accuracy of the eventual measurement. The principle of operation, the nature or the detected optical signal, instrumental requirements for practical applications, and associated problems are analyzed for each category of sensors. Two sorts of sensors are considered: those based on direct spectroscopic detection of the analyte, and those in which the analyte is determined indirectly through use of an analyte-sensitive reagent. Key areas of recent study, useful practical applications, and trends in future development of optical waveguide chemical and biochemical sensors are considered.

Received: 19 January 1998 / Revised: 15 May 1998 / Accepted: 21 May 1998