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Réalisation d'un capteur intégré optique et microfluidique pour la mesure de concentration par effet photothermique

Abstract : This work has been done in the context of fuel reprocessing in the nuclear industry. In fact, the handling of nuclear waste is one of the major issues in the nuclear industry. Its implications reach from economical to political to ecological dimensions. Since used nuclear fuel consists of 97 % of recyclable substances, many countries have chosen to reprocess used fuel, not only for economical reasons but also to limit the quantity of nuclear waste. The most widely employed extraction technique is the PUREX process, where the used fuel is diluted in nitric acid. The recyclable compounds can then be extracted by solvent techniques. Such processes need to be monitored crucially. However, nowadays, the process supervision is carried out by manually sampling the radioactive fluents and analyzing them in external laboratories. Not only prone to potential risks, this approach is little responsive and produces radiotoxic samples that cannot be reintroduced in the nuclear fuel cycle. In this study, we therefore present the development of a microfluidic glass sensor, based on the detection of a photothermal effect induced in the sample fluid. Microfluidics allows fluid handling on a microliter-scale and can therefore significantly reduce the sample volume and thereby the radiotoxcicity of the analyzed fluids. Photothermal spectrometry is well suited for small-scale sample analysis, since its sensitivity does not rely on the length of optical interaction with the analyte. The photothermal effect is a local refractive index variation due to the absorption of photons by the analyte species which are contained in the sample. On the sensor chip, the index refraction change is being sensed by an integrated Young interferometer, made by ion-exchange in glass. The probed volume in the channel was (33.5 ± 3.5) pl. The interferometric system can sense refractive index changes as low as ∆n_min = 1.2 × 10−6 , allowing to detect a minimum concentration of cobalt(II) in ethanol c_min = 6 × 10−4 mol/l, which is equivalent to an absorption coefficient of alpha_min = 1.2 × 10−2 cm−1 . At the detection limit, we could sense an absolute quantity of cobalt(II) of N_min = (20 ± 2) fmol. The interaction length between the excitation light and the sensing zone was li = 14.9 µm leading to a minimum detectable absorbance of K_min = (1.56 ± 0.12) × 10−5 .
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Armin Schimpf. Réalisation d'un capteur intégré optique et microfluidique pour la mesure de concentration par effet photothermique. Génie civil. Université de Grenoble, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011GRENT120⟩. ⟨tel-00824619⟩

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