Optical Oxygen Sensors Show Reversible Cross-Talk and/or Degradation in the Presence of Nitrogen Dioxide

Irene Dalfen, Arjan Pol, Sergey M. Borisov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A variety of luminescent dyes including the most common indicators for optical oxygen sensors were investigated in regard to their stability and photophysical properties in the presence of nitrogen dioxide. The dyes were immobilized in polystyrene and subjected to NO2concentrations from 40 to 5500 ppm. The majority of dyes show fast degradation of optical properties due to the reaction with NO2. The class of phosphorescent metalloporphyrins shows the highest resistance against nitrogen dioxide. Among them, palladium(II) and platinum(II) complexes of octasubstituted sulfonylated benzoporphyrins are identified as the most stable dyes with almost no decomposition in the presence of NO2. The phosphorescence of these dyes is reversibly quenched by nitrogen dioxide. Immobilized in various polymeric matrices, the sulfonylated Pt(II) benzoporphyrin demonstrates about one order of magnitude more efficient quenching by NO2than by molecular oxygen. Our study demonstrates that virtually all commercially available and reported optical oxygen sensors are likely to show either irreversible decomposition in the presence of nitrogen dioxide or reversible luminescence quenching. They should be used with extreme caution if NO2is present in relatively high concentrations or it may be generated from other species such as nitric oxide. As an important consequence of nearly anoxic systems, production of nitrogen dioxide or nitric oxide may be therefore erroneously interpreted as an increase in oxygen concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3057-3066
Number of pages10
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2022


  • dye
  • indicator
  • luminescence
  • NO
  • optode
  • quenching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical Oxygen Sensors Show Reversible Cross-Talk and/or Degradation in the Presence of Nitrogen Dioxide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this