Fiber Optic Based Evanescent Wave Sensor for the Detection of Elemental Mercury Utilizing Gold Nanorods

J.S. Crosby, D. Lucas, C.P. Koshland
University of California Berkeley, US

Keywords: fiber optic sensor, gold nanorods, mercury detection


We have developed a fiber optic based sensor for the detection of atmospheric elemental mercury that uses gold nanoparticles as the sensing medium. Previous work has established that the Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Peak blue-shifts when exposed to mercury, though this work was in an aqueous environment with the addition of a reducing agent. Fiber optic evanescent sensors have been used as chemical and biological sensors. Combining these two results has allowed us to develop a stable mercury sensor with a sensitivity in the micrograms per cubic meter range, comparable to commercial sensors, at a fraction of the cost.