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Determining the Partial Pressure of Volatile Components via Substrate-Integrated Hollow Waveguide Infrared Spectroscopy with Integrated Microfluidics

Kokoric, Vjekoslav, Theisen, Johannes, Wilk, Andreas, Penisson, Christophe, Bernard, Gabriel, Mizaikoff, Boris, Gabriel, Jean-Christophe P.
Analytical chemistry 2018 v.90 no.7 pp. 4445-4451
ethanol, evaporation, gas chromatography, headspace analysis, infrared spectroscopy, thermodynamics, vapors, volatile compounds
A microfluidic system combined with substrate-integrated hollow waveguide (iHWG) vapor phase infrared spectroscopy has been developed for evaluating the chemical activity of volatile compounds dissolved in complex fluids. Chemical activity is an important yet rarely exploited parameter in process analysis and control. Access to chemical activity parameters enables systematic studies on phase diagrams of complex fluids, the detection of aggregation processes, etc. The instrumental approach developed herein uniquely enables controlled evaporation/permeation from a sample solution into a hollow waveguide structure and the analysis of the partial pressures of volatile constituents. For the example of a binary system, it was shown that the chemical activity may be deduced from partial pressure measurements at thermodynamic equilibrium conditions. The combined microfluidic-iHWG midinfrared sensor system (μFLUID-IR) allows the realization of such studies in the absence of any perturbations provoked by sampling operations, which is unavoidable using state-of-the-art analytical techniques such as headspace gas chromatography. For demonstration purposes, a water/ethanol mixture was investigated, and the derived data was cross-validated with established literature values at different mixture ratios. Next to perturbation-free measurements, a response time of the sensor <150 s (t₉₀) at a recovery time <300 s (tᵣₑcₒᵥₑᵣy) has been achieved, which substantiates the utility of μFLUID-IR for future process analysis-and-control applications.