Publication Details

Lau, K., Shepherd, R., Diamond, D. & Diamond, D. (2006). Solid state pH sensor based on light emitting diodes (LED) as detector platform. Sensors, 6 848-859.


A low-power, high sensitivity, very low-cost light emitting diode (LED)-based device developed for low-cost sensor networks was modified with bromocresol green membrane to work as a solid-state pH sensor. In this approach, a reverse-biased LED functioning as a photodiode is coupled with a second LED configured in conventional emission mode. A simple timer circuit measures how long (in microsecond) it takes for the photocurrent generated on the detector LED to discharge its capacitance from logic 1 (+5 V) to logic 0 (+1.7 V). The entire instrument provides an inherently digital output of light intensity measurements for a few cents. A light dependent resistor (LDR) modified with similar sensor membrane was also used as a comparison method. Both the LED sensor and the LDR sensor responded to various pH buffer solutions in a similar way to obtain sigmoidal curves expected of the dye. The pKa value obtained for the sensors was found to agree with the literature value.