Combined plasmonic Au-nanoparticle and conducting metal oxide high-temperature optical sensing with LSTO†
Fiber optic sensor technology offers several advantages for harsh-environment applications. However, the development of optical gas sensing layers that are stable under harsh environmental conditions is an ongoing research challenge. In this work, electronically conducting metal oxide lanthanum-doped strontium titanate (LSTO) films embedded with gold nanoparticles are examined as a sensing layer for application in reducing gas flows at high temperature (600–800 °C). A strong localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) based response to hydrogen is demonstrated in the visible region of the spectrum, while a Drude free electron-based response is observed in the near-IR. Characteristics of these responses are studied both on planar glass substrates and on silica fibers. Charge transfer between the oxide film and the gold nanoparticles is explored as a possible mechanism governing the Au LSPR response and is considered in terms of the corresponding properties of the conducting metal oxide-based matrix phase. Principal component analysis is applied to the combined plasmonic and free-carrier based response over a range of temperatures and hydrogen concentrations. It is demonstrated that the combined visible and near-IR response of these films provides improved versatility for multiwavelength interrogation, as well as improved discrimination of important process parameters (concentration and temperature) through application of multivariate analysis techniques.