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Proceedings Paper

Optical sensors for application in intelligent food-packaging technology
Author(s): Aisling K. McEvoy; Christoph Von Bueltzingsloewen; Colette M. McDonagh; Brian D. MacCraith; Ingo Klimant; Otto S. Wolfbeis
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Paper Abstract

Modified Atmosphere Packaged (MAP) food employs a protective gas mixture, which normally contains selected amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2), in order to extend the shelf life of food. Conventional MAP analysis of package integrity involves destructive sampling of packages followed by carbon dioxide and oxygen detection. For quality control reasons, as well as to enhance food safety, the concept of optical on-pack sensors for monitoring the gas composition of the MAP package at different stages of the distribution process is very attractive. The objective of this work was to develop printable formulations of oxygen and carbon dioxide sensors for use in food packaging. Oxygen sensing is achieved by detecting the degree of quenching of a fluorescent ruthenium complex entrapped in a sol-gel matrix. In particular, a measurement technique based on the quenching of the fluorescence decay time, phase fluorometric detection, is employed. A scheme for detecting CO2 has been developed which is compatible with the oxygen detection scheme. It is fluorescence-based and uses the pH-sensitive 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonic acid (HPTS) indicator dye encapsulated in an organically modified silica (ORMOSIL) glass matrix. Dual Luminophore Referencing (DLR) has been employed as an internal referencing scheme, which provides many of the advantages of lifetime-based fluorometric methods. Oxygen cross-sensitivity was minimised by encapsulating the reference luminophore in dense sol-gel microspheres. The sensor performance compared well with standard methods for both oxygen and carbon dioxide detection. The results of preliminary on-pack print trials are presented and a preliminary design of an integrated dual gas optical read-out device is discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 August 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4876, Opto-Ireland 2002: Optics and Photonics Technologies and Applications, (27 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.464210
Show Author Affiliations
Aisling K. McEvoy, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Christoph Von Bueltzingsloewen, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Colette M. McDonagh, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Brian D. MacCraith, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Ingo Klimant, Technische Univ. Graz (Austria)
Otto S. Wolfbeis, Univ. Regensburg (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4876:
Opto-Ireland 2002: Optics and Photonics Technologies and Applications
Vincent Toal; Norman Douglas McMillan; Gerard M. O'Connor; Eon O'Mongain; Austin F. Duke; John F. Donegan; James A. McLaughlin; Brian D. MacCraith; Werner J. Blau, Editor(s)

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