A Novel Chemical Sensing Technique Introduced by the Researchers

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Scientists have identified a novel way to determine the chemical composition of ingredients with the use of near-infrared light. These results could be fruitful for a range of potential applications, including enhancing analysis of down-hole drilling in the gas and oil industry and widening the spectrum of solar light that can be cultivated and transformed into electricity.

It is a work of scientists from the University of Houston who have reported a novel way to identify the chemical composition of materials with the use of near-infrared light. According to Wei-Chuan Shih, an associate professor of computer and electrical engineering at UH, “According to the scientific view, it is quite a discovery to boost plasmonic resonance at near-infrared and make it perform well for other users and us.”

It implies that substances that cannot be precisely gauged by sensors operating on the spectrum of infrared technique can now be analyzed in much detail than that illustrated by prevailing techniques with the use of near-infrared spectrum.

The other authors on the research panel include Oussama Zenasni, Greggy M. Santos, and graduate students Md Masud Parvez Arnov and Fusheng Zhao.

Spectroscopy with the use of infrared spectrum – an analytical way utilizing infrared light for scanning and identifying the chemical composition of polymeric, organic and few inorganic materials is a vital tool, but it has few restrictions. Infrared light gets absorbed by water, so this technique cannot be used with water-based applications.

The techniques based on near-infrared scanning are compatible with water, but prevailing techniques are less sensitive than those utilizing other wavelengths. “To combat such restrictions, we have introduced a new way simultaneously to obtain refractive and chemical index sensing in 1-2.5 um NIR wavelength frequency on nanoporous gold disks that feature high-density plasmonic hot-spots of localized electric field enrichment,” the researchers stated. “It is for the very first time that the surface-enriched near-infrared absorpotion (SENIRA) spectroscopy has been illustrated for great sensitivity chemical detection.”

As per Shih, performing with near-infrared light is normally like a ‘double edge sword’. It is because such technique is useful with water-based samples but does not offer the necessary detail. “We proved that water is not a trouble, but we can also boost the sensitivity of what we intend to measure by 10,000 times,” he said.

The technique was examined with numerous crude oil and hydrocarbon samples, and Shih explained that it could be supportive in the down-hole fluid analysis, which utilizes near infrared spectroscopy to examine material buried deep in a well. The technique enabled drillers to identify the elements swiftly deep inside the seabed or ground, but he claimed that it could smooth the process as it needs a little sample for analysis.

Shih stated that the scientists are thinking about novel ways to perform things with the use of this technique. “We can perform a large number of oil typing with the use of small samples of oil.” In fact, this research work can be applied even to molecular species.