Integration and application of optical chemical sensors in microbioreactors

Pia Gruber, Marco P C Marques, Nicolas Szita, Torsten Mayr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The quantification of key variables such as oxygen, pH, carbon dioxide, glucose, and temperature provides essential information for biological and biotechnological applications and their development. Microfluidic devices offer an opportunity to accelerate research and development in these areas due to their small scale, and the fine control over the microenvironment, provided that these key variables can be measured. Optical sensors are well-suited for this task. They offer non-invasive and non-destructive monitoring of the mentioned variables, and the establishment of time-course profiles without the need for sampling from the microfluidic devices. They can also be implemented in larger systems, facilitating cross-scale comparison of analytical data. This tutorial review presents an overview of the optical sensors and their technology, with a view to support current and potential new users in microfluidics and biotechnology in the implementation of such sensors. It introduces the benefits and challenges of sensor integration, including, their application for microbioreactors. Sensor formats, integration methods, device bonding options, and monitoring options are explained. Luminescent sensors for oxygen, pH, carbon dioxide, glucose and temperature are showcased. Areas where further development is needed are highlighted with the intent to guide future development efforts towards analytes for which reliable, stable, or easily integrated detection methods are not yet available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2693-2712
Number of pages20
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2017


  • Journal Article

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology


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