CO2 Sensors for Life Science Incubators

CO2Meter IR CO2 Incubator Sensor

Life science and laboratory industries often utilize CO2 incubation equipment to provide stable growth environments.  By controlling the CO2 and O2 in these incubators technicians are able to maintain the correct pH in the growth cultures.

Properly controlling these cultures could not be more important in the field and routine maintenance of the systems relies heavily upon temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide concentrations.

The main technology that is commonly used in monitoring and controlling cell environments is Infrared (IR) sensing technology, which is a core component of the Microsens Incubator IR CO2 Sensor (MH-100)

With sensors such as the Microsens Incubator IR CO2 Sensor, technicians are provided with reliable and highly accurate gas measurements in the incubators without having to remove the sensor during high-temperature sterilization cycles. 

How does an Incubator IR CO2 Sensor Work?

Infrared (IR) sensors work by measuring the absorption rely heavily on the fact that each gas absorbs a distinct wavelength of light. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) absorbs the wavelength 4.3um within the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. An IR emitter then directs the infrared light through a sample of the growth chamber's atmosphere, then through an interferometer filter which isolates the proper wavelength and finally into the sensor. 

It is important to note, periodically calibrated circuits measure the amount of 4.3um light that strikes the sensor and calculates the difference between it and what was emitted by the source. The more CO2 the less light passes through, making the difference of allowing the circuits to calculate the accurate percentage of carbon dioxide.

Why choose an Infrared IR CO2 Sensor?

For those technicians working in incubation or microbiology labs, making the choice upon selecting the proper sensing technology can be a difficult task.

While additional sensing technologies are available in the field, Infrared IR CO2 sensors are most commonly sought out due to a wide range of specified capabilities. First, the price difference between Infrared (IR) CO2 sensors and others such as Thermal Conductivity sensors is vastly defined as having Infrared sensors at a much more cost-effective and affordable rate for technicians. 


The MicroSENS Hightemp Incubator IR CO2 Sensor

Additionally, besides being cost-effective, accuracy and precision are another consideration to take in to account when selecting a sensor and vital in medical industries. Those selecting an Infrared IR sensing technology will find that they are known to ensure reliable, consistent, and highly accurate measurements long-term. Whereas Thermal Conductivity (TC) sensing technologies have been known to exhibit issues in harsh humidity that often result in providing more unstable/inaccurate measurements and sometimes failure. 

Another factor when researching Infrared IR CO2 Sensor for incubation is understanding that IR monitoring of carbon dioxide is most commonly preferred in laboratory environments that require high sanitization and hygiene practices.  High temperature sterilization, sometimes with peroxide, will damage most IR sensors.  Finding sensors that can withstand these sterilization cycles can be difficult.

Furthermore, scientists, researchers, and laboratory technicians will be able to ensure less handling and assembly errors with IR sensing because of the integrated temperature and pressure compensation. Looking furthermore at the IR technology in the MH-100, you can see it was designed to withstand high-temperature sterilization cycles up to 190°C (374°F), dramatically increasing the lifespan of the sensor.  Competitors sensors do not offer this low maintenance and high temperature resilience.

Overall, it is important to understand when researching how an Infrared IR CO2 sensor works and its main advantages, that there are many different designs out there on the market. Comparing these sensors and understanding how each model affects accuracy, precision, or aggressive temperatures - should not be a rushed task.

The choice in selecting a sensing technology is also critical, because if the CO2 incubator is not operating properly or gases are not monitored efficiently; cell growth, pH, and tissues can all be severely affected. 

For years, incubator manufacturers and their end laboratory customers have worked to precisely minimize altered effects and replicate their cell cultures' natural environment to allow for optimal environmental conditions and results.

Who would not want the best technology to further maintain this environment?

With an Infrared IR CO2 Sensor, laboratories utilizing CO2 incubators can rest assured that they can accurately and repeatedly measure the CO2 to control the pH levels in the chamber and not worry about contamination or unstable maintenance for their specimens.

CO2Meter VP of Business Development, Joshua Pringle concludes, "At CO2Meter, we strive to develop sensors and products that solve a customer’s needs. These solutions fill a “gap” in the market that we can then capitalize on and sell in to. The team takes pride in our ability to identify and become experts in specific markets such as incubation and IR technologies, allowing us to provide resources and key knowledge on the topic rather than being outsiders looking in.  Customers know they can call us, provide their use cases, and specifications and our technical sales team can help them identify the right sensor for the application." 

For more information on the MicroSENS Hightemp Incubator IR CO2 Sensor, please email us at

About CO2Meter: CO2Meter is an industry leader in the manufacturing and design of gas detection solutions. They continue to provide solutions that meet the customer’s needs and exceed expectations for reliability, innovation, and service.

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