Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science






The goal of this project was to design an optical sensor for oxygen. One type of system suitable for oxygen detection in aqueous solutions is based on two distinct emission bands: one band oxygen-sensitive, the other insensitive to oxygen quenching. By taking the ratio of these bands, a quantitative measurement of the oxygen present could be obtained. This could be accomplished in a system where a fluorescing compound, through triplet state energy transfer, causes a lanthanide ion to luminesce. By choosing a compound which has a triplet energy near the excitation wavelength of terbium (III) or europium (III) and which has a fluorescence that is itself insensitive to oxygen quenching, a suitable system could be developed. The lanthanide luminescence bands would not be subject to direct oxygen quenching. Rather, the triplet state energy transfer to the lanthanide would compete with the rate of quenching of the triplet state by oxygen. As the solution is deaerated, an increase in lanthanide luminescence would be observed. Chemical systems tested for this application include micellar solutions containing a naphthalene- or pyrene-derivative and terbium (III) or europium (III).