The disclosure relates to a method of detecting a change in a chemical composition by contacting a electronically conducting perovskite-based metal oxide material with a monitored stream, illuminating the electronically conducting perovskite-based metal oxide with incident light, collecting exiting light, monitoring an optical signal based on a comparison of the incident light and the exiting light, and detecting a shift in the optical signal. The electronically conducting perovskite-based metal oxide has a perovskite-based crystal structure and an electronic conductivity of at least 10.sup.-1 S/cm, where parameters are specified at the gas stream temperature. The electronically conducting perovskite-based metal oxide has an empirical formula A.sub.xB.sub.yO.sub.3-.delta., where A is at least a first element at the A-site, B is at least a second element at the B-site, and where 0.8<x<1.2, 0.8<y<1.2. Exemplary electronically conducting perovskite-based oxides include but are not limited to La.sub.1-xSr.sub.xCoO.sub.3, La.sub.1-xSr.sub.xMnO.sub.3, LaCrO.sub.3, LaNiO.sub.3, La.sub.1-xSr.sub.xMn.sub.1-yCr.sub.yO.sub.3, SrFeO.sub.3, SrVO.sub.3, La-doped SrTiO.sub.3, Nb-doped SrTiO.sub.3, and SrTiO.sub.3-.delta..
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to the employer-employee relationship of the Government to the inventors as U.S. Department of Energy employees and site-support contractors at the National Energy Technology Laboratory.