Abstract

An optical sensor that simultaneously measures the concentration of the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and temperature in water based on a tapered microfiber is proposed for environmental monitoring. The sensor is characterized by a strong evanescent field, which is more sensitive to liquids with a low refractive index and a low transmission loss. The results show that as the BOD concentration increases, the interference spectrum shifts toward longer wavelengths, the spectral loss decreases, and the sensitivities of the BOD are 12.17 nm/mg/mL and ${-}{2.387}\;{\rm dB/mg/mL}$ in the range of 0.25–1 mg/mL, which indicates the extent of the water pollution. The detection limit for the BOD concentration is as low as 0.0016 mg/mL. As the ambient temperature increases, the interference spectrum shifts toward shorter wavelengths, the spectral loss decreases, and the temperature sensitivities are ${-}{0.339}\;{\rm nm}/^\circ {\rm C}$ and ${-}{0.031}\;{\rm dB}/^\circ {\rm C}$ in the range of 30°C–60°C. The matrix method can be used to achieve the simultaneous measurement of the BOD concentration and environmental temperature because the spectral interference peaks have different responses to these two parameters. The sensor can not only be used for detecting water pollution in rivers, drinking water, and groundwater but can also be utilized for other types of environmental monitoring. This sensor has great potential to act as a basic sensing unit in fiber-optic sensor networks for multiparameter measurements and intelligent monitoring.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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