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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Megan C Frost


Nitric oxide has the potential to greatly improve intravascular measurements by locally inhibiting thrombus formation and dilating blood vessels. pH, the partial pressure of oxygen, and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide are three arterial blood parameters that are of interest to clinicians in the intensive care unit that can benefit from an intravascular sensor. This work explores fabrication of absorbance and fluorescence based pH sensing chemistry, the sensing chemistries' compatibility with nitric oxide, and a controllable nitric oxide releasing polymer.

The pH sensing chemistries utilized various substrates, dyes, and methods of immobilization. Absorbance sensing chemistries used sol-gels, fumed silica particles, mesoporous silicon oxide, bromocresol purple, phenol red, bromocresol green, physical entrapment, molecular interactions, and covalent linking. Covalently linking the dyes to fumed silica particles and mesoporous silicon oxide eliminated leaching in the absorbance sensing chemistries. The structures of the absorbance dyes investigated were similar and bromocresol green in a sol-gel was tested for compatibility with nitric oxide. Nitric oxide did not interfere with the use of bromocresol green in a pH sensor. Investigated fluorescence sensing chemistries utilized silica optical fibers, poly(allylamine) hydrogel, SNARF-1, molecular interactions, and covalent linking. SNARF-1 covalently linked to a modified poly(allylamine) hydrogel was tested in the presence of nitric oxide and showed no interference from the nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide release was controlled through the modulation of a light source that cleaved the bond between the nitric oxide and a sulfur atom in the donor. The nitric oxide donor in this work is S-nitroso-N-acetyl-D-penicillamine which was covalently linked to a silicone rubber made from polydimethylsiloxane. It is shown that the surface flux of nitric oxide released from the polymer films can be increased and decreased by increasing and decreasing the output power of the LED light source.

In summary, an optical pH sensing chemistry was developed that eliminated the chronic problem of leaching of the indicator dye and showed no reactivity to nitric oxide released, thereby facilitating the development of a functional, reliable intravascular sensor.