Optical Sensors Measure Microscopic Amounts of Fluid

Optical Sensors Measure Microscopic Amounts of Fluid


Measuring infinitesimal amounts of fluids just got a whole lot easier, thanks to a group of researchers from Nanyang Technology University (NTU) in Singapore.

Along with members of A*STAR, a Singaporean institute that focuses on Infocomm Research, the collaboration has developed an innovative way of measuring the properties of minute amounts of fluid using fiber-based ‘optofluidic’ sensors.

Since an optical fibre has air channels through which light passes, the researchers realised they can fill the channels with a fluid and measure its properties by analyzing changes in light direction or refraction. As the channels of the fibre are tiny, only a femtometre (a trillionth of a millimetre) of fluid is required.

Not only does the innovation increase the accuracy of measurements, it is a more cost-effective method for researchers to study fluids.

“They say a sensor that can detect minute biological interactions, such as the binding of two molecules, could be an important tool in the future for medical diagnosis. ”

Their very latest optofluidic work takes the technology one step further by drilling a transverse microchannel through the optical fibre to maximise the interaction of fluid and light. When fluid is added to the microchannel, it is extremely sensitive to light refraction, so any changes are easier to measure. The microchannel also makes the device easier to clean and, therefore, to reuse.

More improvements are planned to increase further the fibre’s sensitivity to light changes, one of which involves incorporating optical antennae.

Original Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150529082905.htm