*WINNER* Synthesis of near-infrared pigments for novel sensor applications
Calcium copper silicate, known as Egyptian Blue (EB), is a pigment that exhibits a strong near-IR fluorescent emission when exposed to a strong light source. This property makes it a novel candidate for use as a basis for dissolved ion sensors, as its IR signal is very strong in comparison with current commonly used IR reporters, such as gold shell nanoparticles. Most commercially available samples; however, are created with dyeing and pigmentation in mind, rather than chemical application. To apply EB as a sensor lens component, it must be synthesized to form a reproducible and laboratory grade sample, free from compounds present in dyes that can affect the adherence and emission of an EB coating on a lens. In order to synthesize a sample of EB, a solid-state reaction was employed to react powdered crystalline solids under a high temperature environment. The resulting sample is then characterized through x-ray diffraction to determine the success of the solid-state synthesis.