Search for content and authors

Novel optical oxygen sensor for life and health protection made of nano-zirconia

Anna Swiderska - Sroda 1Witold Łojkowski 1,2

1. Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of High Pressure Physics (UNIPRESS), Sokolowska 29/37, Warszawa 01-142, Poland
2. Instytut Wysokich Ciśnień PAN (IWC), Sokołowska 29/37, Warszawa 01-142, Poland


Acronym: OxyNanoSen

Title: Novel optical oxygen sensor for life and health protection made of nano-zirconia

Project no.: ERA-NET 2010/0204/2DP/

Duration: 29.04.2009 –28.04.2012



  1. Institute of High Pressure Physics,  Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
  2. Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia, Latvia
  3. Bar-Ilan University, Israel  
  4. University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy



Objective and methods:


We discovered that photoluminescence efficiency of ZrO2:Eu nanopowder was strongly influenced by partial pressure of oxygen in the surrounding gas atmosphere. Therefore, intensive work was devoted to the optimization of material properties with respect to sensor application. The far reaching objective of the project was commercialisation of an oxygen partial pressure sensor superior to the presently available ones, based on our discovery: the dependence of luminescence of nanocrystalline zirconia on oxygen partial pressure.  The sensor is protected by a pending PCT application that obtained a preliminary approval of the European Patent Office.


Specific project objectives:


  1. Check which of the existing models better explains the underlying physical phenomena of luminescence dependence on oxygen pressure,
  2. Extend the operation temperature range of the sensor,
  3. Test life time in various gases,
  4. Develop calibration procedures,
  5. Test particular technical solutions: how the material is optimally prepared: as thin film, porous ceramics, dense ceramics, method of illumination and light collection.




Synthesize and preparation techniques of ZrO2 nanopowders doped with rare earth elements were developed in respect to the application as an optical oxygen sensor. Material chemical composition and heat treatment procedures were evaluated: ZrO2:8% mol Eu nanopowder annealed in air was identified as material presenting the greatest photoluminescence sensitivity to oxygen partial pressure. Operating temperatures range of tested nano-sensor was established: ZrO2:8% mol Eu nanopowder preserved oxygen sensitivity from sub-zero up to elevated temperatures. Prototype of oxygen sensor that surpasses the parameters of existing apparatus was constructed. Finally, a model of the processes responsible for the sensor phenomena was proposed. In conclusion, results of OxyNanoSen project have great practical importance, because they can be utilized in universal oxygen sensor device applicable in various temperature conditions.


Legal notice
  • Legal notice:

Related papers

Presentation: Polish Research Projects at Nano and Advanced Materials Workshop and Fair, by Anna Swiderska - Sroda
See On-line Journal of Nano and Advanced Materials Workshop and Fair

Submitted: 2013-08-03 02:14
Revised:   2013-08-03 02:23