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Refractive Index Sensing with D-Shaped Plastic Optical Fibers for Chemical and Biochemical Applications

Sequeira, F. ; Duarte, D. ; Bilro, L. ; Rudnitskaya, Rudnitskaya, A. ; Pesavento, M. ; Zeni, L. ; Cennamo, N.

Sensors Vol. 16, Nº 12, pp. 2119 - 2119, December, 2016.

ISSN (print): 1424-3210
ISSN (online): 1424-8220

Journal Impact Factor: 2,033 (in 2015)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.3390/s16122119

We report the optimization of the length of a D-shaped plastic optical fiber (POF) sensor for refractive index (RI) sensing from a numerical and experimental point of view. The sensing principle is based on total internal reflection (TIR). POFs with 1 mm in diameter were embedded in grooves, realized in planar supports with different lengths, and polished to remove the cladding and part of the core. All D-shaped POF sensors were tested using aqueous medium with different refractive indices (from 1.332 to 1.471) through intensity-based configuration. Results showed two different responses. Considering the refractive index (RI) range (1.33–1.39), the sensitivity and the resolution of the sensor were strongly dependent on the sensing region length. The highest sensitivity (resolution of 6.48 × 10−3 refractive index units, RIU) was obtained with 6 cm sensing length. In the RI range (1.41–1.47), the length of the sensing region was not a critical aspect to obtain the best resolution. These results enable the application of this optical platform for chemical and biochemical evanescent field sensing. The sensor production procedure is very simple, fast, and low-cost.