Alexandra Thomas

Alexandra Thomas

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Chemical Engineering

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

The Development of Analyte-sensitive Fluorescent Aerogels for Space Applications.

Aerogels are thermally stable, optically transparent and are highly porous materials which can be paired with fluorescent sensing techniques to provide a new avenue to sensing and monitoring environmental changes within extra-terrestrial environments. Current potential applications of these fluorescent aerogels include pH and O2 monitoring in hydroponics in space colonisation and exploration missions, atmospheric molecular sensors and high-energy particle capture from cosmic rays. However, the exact optimisations for these applications in varying extra-terrestrial environments are unknown. This work focuses on the fabrication and optimisation of analyte-sensitive fluorescent aerogels for different Space applications, currently focussing on pH sensitive fluorescent aerogels for potential use in debris capture and hydroponics.

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