Ashley Blackwell - Dillard University
Co-Author(s): Sergey S. Sarkisov, Dillard University, New Orleans Darayas N. Patel, SSS Optical Technologies, LLC, Huntsville Brent Koplitz, Abdalla M. Darwish, Simeon Wilson, and Keylanta Taylor
The objective of the paper was to demonstrate feasibility of an ammonia sensor using polymer – inorganic nanocomposite thin film upconversion light emitters made by the new double-beam pulsed laser deposition method. The existing pulsed laser deposition vacuum chamber was modified to accommodate two laser beams of different wavelengths for the in-situ ablation of two targets: a polymer host poly(methyl methacrylate) mixed with indicator dye Phenol Red and the brilliant rare earth doped upconversion phosphor NaYF4:Yb3+, Er3+. Nano-composite films were deposited on silicon substrates by the proposed method with near-infra-red laser radiation (1064-nm wavelength) ablating the polymer target dissolved in Gamma-butyrolactone together with the indicator dye, and frozen in circulating liquid nitrogen (matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation – MAPLE), and visible radiation (532 nm) ablating the inorganic target. The deposited nano-composite films retained bright green upconversion fluorescence with a spectral peak at 540 nm attributed to the inorganic phosphor nano-particles pumped with the 980-nm infrared laser diode. The spectrum of the green emission matched the absorption band of the indicator dye exposed to ammonia. When the films were exposed to ammonia, they demonstrated an optical response in the form of the drop of the intensity of green radiation monitored with a silicon photodiode. The sensitivity of the opto-electronic sensor of ammonia based on the nanocomposite films was measured to be close 0.4% ammonia in air, and the response time was 5 minutes.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The authors like to acknowledge the support from DoD AFOSR grant FA9550-121-0068, FA9550-12-1-047, Army W911NF-14-1-0093, W911NF-11-1-0192, and NSF award # HRD 1002541.
Faculty Advisor: Abdalla Darwish,