An apparatus and method for the detection of oxygen using optical fiber based evanescent light absorption. Methylene blue was immobilized using a sol-gel process on a portion of the exterior surface of an optical fiber for which the cladding has been removed, thereby forming an optical oxygen sensor. When light is directed through the optical fiber, transmitted light intensity varies as a result of changes in the absorption of evanescent light by the methylene blue in response to the oxygen concentration to which the sensor is exposed. The sensor was found to have a linear response to oxygen concentration on a semi-logarithmic scale within the oxygen concentration range between 0.6% and 20.9%, a response time and a recovery time of about 3 s, ant to exhibit good reversibility and repeatability. An increase in temperature from 21.degree. C. to 35.degree. C. does not affect the net absorption of the sensor.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California. The government has certain rights in the invention.