Technical starting point

UPDATE: We’re not doing this anymore I’ve written a little about why here and here. I will leave these pages up for people to see what we had planned.

Work on the oil sensor so far has been limited to very small lab based trials of the concept. The idea for  this pproject grew out of the final stages my PhD research and is based on results collected in the final few months. I will expand on the techniques used in later posts/updates, but below are the first results from out first ever prototype sensor.

First sensor light spectrum

First sensor light spectrum after coating

The figure above is the spectra recorded from light sent through the fibre sensor. The two valleys on the right hand side of the curve are the points at which we expect to see movement (as shown by the arrows) as the coating changes in the presence of oil (or more specifically aromatic hydrocarbons). I realise this isn’t exactly clear so I will make sure I cover this in detail in later updates.

Now the first experiment I carried out with the sensor was to track the position of the two features explained (badly) above while increasing the concentration of aromatic hydrocarbons (in this case toluene) in the water surrounding the sensor. By plotting the movement of these features agains the concentration you can start to see how the sensor can measure the level of aromatic hydrocarbon in the water.

Fibre sensor dilution curve

The plot shown above is typically known as a dilution curve and is the first indication of a working sensor system. If the system was unstable or of poor quality then you would expect the line above to be a lot more interesting with random distribution of the points.

The data shown here is just a fraction of the work done so far and I hope illustrates the potential of our proposed sensing system. Over time I will expand on the explanation presented here and add in additional data on the finer points of the system and some of the challenges we need to overcome.

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