IOS has extensive experience developing optical chemical sensors and advanced chemical monitoring instrumentation based on optically sensitive materials, the core technology of IOS. Optical chemical sensors perform specific detection of chemicals that cannot be detected by other technologies. They are sensitive and easy to miniaturize, and can operate in air, water, corrosive liquids, organic solvents, and soil. Because they are optical, they are also well-suited to explosive or harsh environments.
The IOS optical chemical sensor lines range from simple inspection of coatings that undergo a rapid, visible color change upon exposure to a target chemical, to sophisticated instrumentation capable of chemical monitoring up to 3 km underground.
One product line emerging from research in this area is fiber optic chemical sensors (FOCS). Taking advantage of flexible optical fibers and compact readouts, our line of FOCS includes chemical and biochemical microprobes for biomedical research, monitors for main gas constituents and trace contaminants in spacesuits and in aircraft cabins, and miniature probes for aquatic systems.
IOS has been a pioneer in the development of distributed fiber optic chemical sensors, in which the sensor elements are optical fibers ranging in length from a few meters to hundreds of meters, capable of covering large areas for underground environmental monitoring or chemical monitoring in infrastructure. The company was founded on the basis of this technology, and it remains a unique technology offered by IOS.
IOS optical chemical sensors are designed to target specific markets where other sensor technologies are subject to significant limitations. These niches are in the medical and aerospace industries, and among energy, and environmental applications. We continue to explore new markets that could benefit from the innovative characteristics of our optical sensor technologies, and to expand the range of chemicals our systems can detect.
IOS has developed optical chemical sensors for:
- Detection of toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents (H2S, NH3, HCN, HCl, soman, sarin)
- Breath gas monitoring (oxygen, carbon dioxide, and humidity)
- Air quality monitoring
- Blood gas panel in-vitro and in-vivo monitoring (pO2, pCO2, pH, bicarbonate)
- Ground water monitoring (dissolved O2, dissolved CO2, nitrates, pH, salinity, organic pollutants, pesticides)
- Hydrogen leak detection and monitoring.