Porphyrins based luminescence chemical sensors with enhanced sensitivity

Period of Performance: 05/08/2000 - 11/07/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Altair Center, LLC
1 Chartwell Circle
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
Principal Investigator


ALTAIR Center proposes to develop a simple and cost-efficient optical sensor for detection of volatile organic compounds (VOC), NOx and SO2 producing strong enhancement/quenching of the emission in presence of these gaseous pollutants. The main principle of signal amplification is based on an antenna effect of the energy transfer/migration among excited chromophores. Specially synthesized highly luminescence compounds (porphyrin based chromophores) will be made specific to different kinds of target molecules. The active layer will be fabricated as a uniform mono- or bichromophore film. Analyte binding to the porphyrins core will form the quenching sites randomly distributed through the films. These luminescence traps quench the luminescence due to energy migration among porphyrins chromophores. The luminescence quenching induced by the antenna effect is much stronger than that for matrix isolated chromophores leading to small and cost-efficient sensors for detection of different pollutants exhibiting an extraordinary high sensitivity. In phase I of the project we will synthesize the receptor chromophores specific to most common gaseous pollutants and demonstrate strong change of the luminescence in presence of the target molecules. In Phase II the developed technology will be allied to fabricating a Prototype chemosensor system. The developed sensors can be immediately applied to monitoring air pollution in places with toxic emissions, hazardous waste sites, different industrial sources releasing volatile chemicals to the atmosphere. Fiber optical sensors will be able to detect remote area without any risk for human activity. In addition to immediate military applications, the sensor system will find many commercial applications in chemical and biotechnology industry for real-time monitoring gas mixture in technological processes.