Microcatalysis in Photonic Crystal Fibers

  • Author: Lois O'Leary
  • Published Date: 13 March 2013
  • Source / Publisher: ChemCatChem/Wiley-VCH
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: Microcatalysis in Photonic Crystal Fibers

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Optofluidic microdevices where light and fluids can interact for spectroscopic or photoactivation purposes are excellent platforms for photocatalysis and in situ reaction analysis. Photonic crystal fiber (PCF) has emerged as a new class of optical fiber for such devices.

Bastian J. M. Etzold and co-workers, Excellence Cluster Engineering of Advanced Materials, Erlangen, Germany, describe how both homo- and heterogeneous catalysis are performed with ultra-high power densities at moderate laser powers in the new PCF design of cladding surrounding a waveguide of small core diameter (pictured). Chemical samples are introduced to micrometer-sized holes in the PCF, overcoming the limited light-sample interaction or leakage of light typical to conventional optical fibers.

Schematic of a conventional 1 cm cuvette and a 20 μm core kagomé hollow-core PCF (not to scale).


Dispersed catalytic systems in PCF enable advanced oxidation processes such as the degradation of organic pollutants. PCF-immobilized catalysts, for example in the supported ionic liquid phase, catalyze key reactions such as hydroformylations, hydrogenations, carbonylation, hydroaminations, Friedel-Crafts alkylations, and the water-gas shift reaction. Metal nanoparticles can also be deposited in PCFs, for example, gold or silver are used to form surface-enhanced Raman scattering-active fibers.

Ingeniously, this design, compared to the conventional centimeter-sized cuvettes, also improves quantitative photospectroscopic reaction analysis, enabling the detection of analytes in ultra-low concentrations.


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