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Photoelectric Chemical Sensors (PECS)


An increased need now exists for advanced technologies to ensure national security, to monitor for public safety and environmental issues, and to aid in maintaining manufacturing safety and quality control. Although there have been notable advancements in the field, current sensor technology lacks sensitivity, has high associated labor costs, and is limited in its applications. UNF photoelectric chemical sensor solutions represent a breakthrough technology in this field.

UNF PECS are superior to existing technologies in sensitivity and selectivity. They can detect multiple chemicals simultaneously, they are reusable, and the output data can be produced in multiple digital formats. Additionally, the sensors are unique because they can be used remotely, can be miniaturized or made compact, and can autonomously analyze data.


UNF PEC sensor applications are varied and numerous. In addition to the potential uses listed below, UNF sensor technology can be tailored to meet your particular needs.


  • Accurate and immediate testing for farmers and growers to minimize the over and under-fertilization of crops.
  • Detection if plants and crops are receiving enough pesticides, herbicides and chemicals to grow effectively.
  • Reduction of environmental impact on important waterways by detecting if over­fertilization is occurring.


  • Provide the EPA and National Security agencies with the capability of detecting chemicals at an elevated sensitivity level.
  • Can be attached to miniaturized devices and report results wirelessly; UNF PECS can analyze chemicals in places that may be dangerous for humans to access.
  • Assist emergency responders with HAZMAT detection.
  • Early detection of possible chemical plant disasters and for the detection of chemicals at ports.
  • Monitoring of pollution levels from chemicals in lakes, rivers and seawater, from landfill run-off, and from over fertilization.


  • Accurately and quickly sense a very wide range of chemicals that pose harm to humans, making UNF PECS a potential important safety-monitoring tool for manufacturing companies and employees.
  • Aids in safety and quality control by monitoring for chemicals such as ammonia, acetone, arsenic, and mercury.


  • For use in emergency response, health diagnosis, forensics, public health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and public transportation industries.
  • Monitoring chemical levels, helping to maintain public health.
  • Provides assistance with emergency responses and health diagnosis by providing time sensitive analysis in near real-time.
  • Detection of chemical poisons, chemical mixtures, and hazardous pollutant effluences.
  • Serves as water treatment monitoring devices for pools or water parks, ensuring public health.

Invention Details

UNF photoelectric chemical sensor technology is a proprietary platform that can detect a very broad range of chemicals with a single device. This patented technology sensing is accomplished through chemicals to be sensed (analytes) uniquely interacting with and thereby modifying interfacial photo-voltages. UNF PECS have multiple independent channels, giving the sensor system the capability of detecting multiple chemicals in near-real time. Remote and autonomous operation of UNF PECS is also possible. In addition, UNF PECS can be "taught" to identity any chemical by developing an appropriate photo-voltage active material that recognizes that chemical. To date, UNF PECS have been configured to identity over 90 chemical substances.

A list of identified analytes is available on request.

More Information: Interested? Find out more by contacting Rosalyn Gilbert at the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, e-mail or call (904) 620-2352.