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Proceedings Paper

Optical detection of formaldehyde
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Paper Abstract

The potential for buildup of formaldehyde in closed space environments poses a direct health hazard to personnel. The National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA) has established a maximum permitted concentration of 0.04 ppm for 7 to 180 days for all space craft. Early detection is critical to ensure that formaldehyde levels do not accumulate above these limits. New sensor technologies are needed to enable real time, in situ detection in a compact and reusable form factor. Addressing this need, research into the use of reactive fluorescent dyes which reversibly bind to formaldehyde (liquid or gas) has been conducted to support the development of a formaldehyde sensor. In the presence of formaldehyde the dyes' characteristic fluorescence peaks shift providing the basis for an optical detection. Dye responses to formaldehyde exposure were characterized; demonstrating the optical detection of formaldehyde in under 10 seconds and down to concentrations of 0.5 ppm. To incorporate the dye in an optical sensor device requires a means of containing and manipulating the dye. Multiple form factors using two dissimilar substrates were considered to determine a suitable configuration. A prototype sensor was demonstrated and considerations for a fieldable sensor were presented. This research provides a necessary first step toward the development of a compact, reusable, real time optical formaldehyde sensor suitable for use in the U.S. space program.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 April 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6958, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications II, 69580N (3 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.784409
Show Author Affiliations
Kira D. Patty, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)
Don A. Gregory, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6958:
Sensors and Systems for Space Applications II
Richard T. Howard; Pejmun Motaghedi, Editor(s)

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