Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 8, Issue 1–3, pp 1053–1061 | Cite as

Optical chemical sensors based on sol-gel materials: Recent advances and critical issues

  • B. D. Mac Craith
  • C. Mc Donagh
  • A. K. Mcevoy
  • T. Butler
  • G. O’Keeffe
  • V. Murphy


The use of the sol-gel process to produce materials for optical chemical sensors and biosensors is attracting considerable interest. This interest derives mainly from the design flexibility of the sol-gel process and the ease of fabrication. In most applications the sol-gel material is used to provide a microporous support matrix in which analyte-sensitive species are entrapped and into which smaller analyte molecules may diffuse. Sensors based on entrapped organic and inorganic dyes, enzymes and other biomolecules have been reported. A range of sensor configurations has been employed, including monoliths, thin films, as well as more elaborate structures. In this paper a selection is presented of recent significant developments in optical chemical sensors which employ solgel-derived materials. These developments include the tailoring of sol-gel materials to optimise sensor response, advanced waveguide structures and novel probe-tip sensors. Those issues which remain critical to the eventual deployment of sol-gel sensors are examined. In particular, the problems of leaching, microstructural stability, diffusion-limited response time, and susceptibility to interferents are discussed and some solutions proposed.

Key words

sol-gel optical chemical sensor waveguide sensor fibre optic sensor 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. D. Mac Craith
    • 1
  • C. Mc Donagh
    • 1
  • A. K. Mcevoy
    • 1
  • T. Butler
    • 1
  • G. O’Keeffe
    • 1
  • V. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Physical SciencesDublin City UniversityDublin 9Ireland

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