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Sol-gel methods and sol-gel combined with micelle techniques have been developed for synthesizing nanostructured
materials, including porous silica, porous tin oxide, silver nanoparticles immobilized porous silica and palladium
nanoparticles immobilized porous silica. These nanostructured materials have been used in the development of fiber optic gas
sensors. The sol-gel derived porous silica has been coated on surface of optical fiber core for the development of a moisture
sensor. Sol-gel derived tin oxide nanoparticles have been coated on surface of a silica optical fiber having a gold jacket for
sensing reducing gases (H2, CH4, CO) at elevated temperatures (300-800oC). Silver nanoparticles have been immobilized in
sol-gel derived porous silica by using a thiol stabilizer. The silver nanoparticle immobilized porous silica has been coated
on surface of silica optical fiber core. The exposure of such a nanomaterial coating to an ammonia-containing gas sample
causes a decrease of light intensity guided through the fiber, which can be used as a sensing signal for monitoring ammonia
concentration in gas samples. Palladium nanoparticles have been synthesized by using a micelle technique with Triton X-100.
The formed palladium nanoparticles have been immobilized to sol-gel derived silica. The palladium nanoparticle immobilized
sol-gel silica has been made into the form of an optical fiber by using a patented fiber fabrication method. This porous fiber has
been tested for sensing trace hydrogen gas in air for applications at ambient temperature. This paper reports the methodologies
of making the above mentioned nanomaterials, the structure of the fiber optic sensors and test results of using the sensors for
monitoring trace gases in different gas samples.
Shiquan Tao completed his PhD in chemistry from Hiroshima University, Japan. He is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at West Texas A&M University with
research interest in the development of fiber optic chemical/biochemical sensors for monitoring industrial processes, environmental monitoring as well as for quick
detecting food borne pathogens. Before joining the faculty at WTAMU, he was a research faculty at the Diagnostic Instrumentation and Analysis Laboratory of
Mississippi State University in charge of the institute?s fiber optic sensor research program for US DOE? Office of Science?s Environmental Management Program.
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