Optical ammonia sensors based on fluorescent aza-BODIPY dyes— a flexible toolbox

M. Maierhofer, V. Rieger, T. Mayr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present three types of optical ammonia sensors suitable for environmental, bioprocess, and reaction monitoring. A respective fluorescent BF 2-chelated tetraarylazadipyrromethene dye (aza-BODIPYs) is physically entrapped in a polyurethane hydrogel (HydroMed D4) forming an emulsion system with vinyl-terminated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The analyte-sensitive layer is covered by a hydrophobic membrane which excludes hydrophilic substances. Three different protection layers are tested, whereby the Teflon and the hydrophobic PES layers outperform a PDMS/TiO 2 layer. Response times within their dynamic range of 15 s can be achieved, whereas the PDMS/TiO 2-covered sensor requires at least 390 s. The three sensors entail the following concentration areas: first sensor 3 μg L −1–3 mg L −1 (LOD 0.23 μg L −1), second sensor 0.1–30 mg L −1 (LOD 28 μg L −1), and third sensor 3 mg L −1–1 g L −1 (LOD 0.51 mg L −1). Readout is performed with a commercially available phase fluorimeter combined with optical fibers. Dual-lifetime referencing (DLR) is used as referencing method and Egyptian blue acts as an inert reference material. No cross-sensitivity to pH changes can be detected. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7559-7567
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number27
Early online date24 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Bioprocessing
  • Chemical sensor
  • Dual-lifetime referencing
  • Online monitoring
  • pH indicator
  • Phase fluorimetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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