Delalic, Zdenka Joan; Kargbo, David M.; Sheffield, Joel B.; Silage, Dennis; Bai, Li (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      Gas detection is vital in different fields including environmental applications, clinical analysis, and homeland security. To perform these tasks the sensors need to be stable, sensitive, selective, operating at room temperature, rapidly responding, and easy to regenerate. On the other hand, most chemical sensors often suffer from a lack of selectivity, i.e., reacting more or less similarly to a collection of substances. As a result, these sensors may lead to false alerts. Even worse, the molecules to be detected could be masked by some interfering compounds which may result in failure to detect the targets. The goal of this research is to develop a portable gas-sensing device that integrates a zeolite/dye unit with an optoelectronic detector. At nano-scale the sensor is expected to be more accurate, more sensitive, and can better differentiate and detect one chemical component in a mixture of different gases. This could be achieved by incorporating fluorescent dyes into the zeolites' cavities, measuring gas absorption, desorption and photo-chromic interaction of dye and gases, interfacing the zeolite/dye sensor arrays with light source and electronic detectors and fully integrating the sensor arrays into a portable unit. This research addresses many of the above-sated threads. The highly fluorescent organic dye, nile red, was successfully included in the supercages of different zeolites Y (ammonium Y, hydrogen Y, and sodium Y) via chemical reaction. The research also developed an effective method to clean the synthesized inclusions, which is a combination of ultrasound and centrifuge. The cleaned inclusions were baked to remove any gases and/or moisture trapped inside the zeolites' structure. The spectra of the baked inclusions were used as references. The cleaned inclusions were optically characterized in terms of light absorption and fluorescence emission. When exposed to acetone, ethanol, methanol, and de-ionized water, the fluorescence emission spectra of zeolite-sodium-Y/nile-red inclusion showed a similar spectral shift compared to the reference spectrum. On the other hand, the fluorescence emission spectra of zeolite-hydrogen-Y/nile-red inclusion and zeolite-ammonium-Y/nile-red inclusion showed different spectral shifts compared to the reference spectra. This shows the successful proof of encapsulating the nile red dye in zeolites Y's cages, cleaning the zeolite/nile-red combinations, and measuring the desorption and fluorescence emission of the combinations. The optical characteristics of the nile red adsorbing to the external surface of the zeolites Y were studied as well. The research also included the design of the optical system to excite the sensing elements (zeolite/nile-red inclusions), and to collect the fluorescence response, the design and simulation of electronic circuits to condition and process electrical signal, and overall design of an integrated gas detector onto a pressed ceramic optical bench.