A low cost imaging set-up for optical chemical sensors based on NIR-emitting dyes is presented. It is based on a commercially available 2-CCD colour near infrared camera, LEDs and tailor-made optical sensing materials for oxygen and pH. The set-up extends common ratiometric RGB imaging based on the red, green and blue channels of colour cameras by an additional NIR channel. The hardware and software of the camera were adapted to perform ratiometric imaging. A series of new planar sensing foils were introduced to image oxygen, pH and both parameters simultaneously. The used NIR-emitting indicators are based on benzoporphyrins and aza-BODIPYs for oxygen and pH, respectively. Moreover, a wide dynamic range oxygen sensor is presented. It allows accurate imaging of oxygen from trace levels up to ambient air concentrations. The imaging set-up in combination with the normal range ratiometric oxygen sensor showed a resolution of 4-5 hPa at low oxygen concentrations (<50 hPa) and 10-15 hPa at ambient air oxygen concentrations; the trace range oxygen sensor (<20 hPa) revealed a resolution of about 0.5-1.8 hPa. The working range of the pH-sensor was in the physiological region from pH 6.0 up to pH 8.0 and showed an apparent pKa-value of 7.3 with a resolution of about 0.1 pH units. The performance of the dual parameter oxygen/pH sensor was comparable to the single analyte pH and normal range oxygen sensors.
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