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Title: Optimising the plastic optical fibre evanescent field biofilm sensor
Author: Wong, Yuen Mei
ISNI:       0000 0004 2673 7182
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis describes the development, characterisation and application of large diameter multimode plastic optical fibre (POF) sensors using evanescent field modulation. The exposed polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) core of the POF fibre forms the sensor interface that detects refractive index changes of a measurand acting as the cladding. When a liquid measurand is used, the sensor can detect changes in refractive index, absorption and suspended particulates. It is this simple mechanism by which the evanescent field POF sensor operates. The evanescent field POF sensor has been characterised for refractive index of surrounding liquid from 1.33 to 1.49. The sensor demonstrated accuracy of ± 7x 10-3 refractive index units below 1.4 and ±2x 10-3 refractive index units above 1.4. Components have been selected and designed for this project to ruggedise the sensor, to make the sensor more self-contained and cheaper. The original design of the test conditions did not allow for optimum deployment of the sensor as it stripped out the very modes of light that were required for sensing purposes. The system was also operating under pressure, not reflecting the real conditions under which the sensor would be operating. The re-design of test conditions holds the sensor without straining the POF and operates under normal atmospheric pressure. The POF sensor was demonstrated reacting to a real measurand eg biofilm in which initial growth affects the optical properties at the core cladding interface by refractive index modulation. This sensor was capable of measuring biofouling and scaling at water interfaces. The sensor was trialled in a European Commission funded project (CLOOPT) to study biofouling and scaling in closed loop water systems such as heat exchangers in the cooling tower of an electric power plant, and as an interface sensor for water quality monitoring (AQUA-STEW) involving biofilm removal and surface cleansing with a new application for contact lens protein removal systems. Tapering multimode POF was a desirable goal as this increases the proportion of light coupled into the core available for sensing purposes, to achieve a more sensitive evanescent field POF sensor. Optically clear and consistent smooth tapering of ends and mid-lengths of POF fibre were achieved through chemical removal of material. The tapered POF sensor was characterised with a range of refractive indices, and it exhibited two distinct regions; the water/alcohol region below 1.4 refractive index units, and the oil region above 1.4 suggesting the sensor's use as an oil-in-water, or water-in-oil sensor. From 95% confidence limits, the accuracy of the POF was ±O.006 refractive index units (to 2 standard deviations) for fluids of refractive indices above 1.4. Tapered POF is sensitive to refractive index providing a cheap, easy to handle and rugged throwaway sensor for water and beverage process and quality monitoring.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General) ; TP Chemical technology