University of Oulu

Kanyathare, B., Kuivalainen, K., Räty, J., Silfsten, P., Bawuah, P., Peiponen, K. (2018) A prototype of an optical sensor for the identification of diesel oil adulterated by kerosene. Journal of the European Optical Society, 14 (1), 3. doi:10.1186/s41476-018-0071-2

A prototype of an optical sensor for the identification of diesel oil adulterated by kerosene

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Author: Kanyathare, Boniphace1; Kuivalainen, Kalle2; Räty, Jukka2;
Organizations: 1Department of Physics and Mathematics, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
2MITY, University of Oulu, Kajaani, Finland
3School of Pharmacy, Promis Centre, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-03-13


Background: Liquid fuel adulteration has several far-reaching impacts such as environmental pollution. A widespread practice is typically the adulteration of diesel oil by kerosene. The relatively cheap price of kerosene is probably the most important reason for its usage in illegal adulteration. Herein, we demonstrate the use of a prototype optical sensor for efficient tracking of adulterated diesel oil.

Methods: In this study, a prototype of an optical sensor for screening of fake diesel oil is proposed. The device exploits the phenomenon of laser light reflection from a fuel film over a roughened glass plate. The sensing mechanism of the devise is based on the refractive index mismatch between the glass and the fuel sample, and the wetting property of the fuel film over the roughened surface. For the sake of comparison, the refractive index for each of the fuel samples was measured at room temperature with the aid of an automatic temperature controlled Abbe table refractometer. The sensitivity of this prototype optical sensor was tested using training sets of diesel oil samples adulterated with low concentrations of kerosene.

Results: Originally, a commercial handheld glossmeter, with a new innovation of a removable sensor head for liquid inspection is presented as a prototype sensor for the screening of possible adulteration of diesel oils with kerosene. The significant difference in the signal readings obtained from carefully prepared training sets of adulterated diesel oil composed of low percentages (5–15%) of kerosene has proven the high sensitivity of the developed sensor.

Conclusions: The ability to detect low concentrations of kerosene in diesel using the newly developed hand-held prototype sensor proves its high sensitivity compared to a high-accuracy Abbe refractometer. We envisage that this proposed sensor could, in the future, be made accessible to the authorities as a mobile fake fuel measurement unit.

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Series: Journal of the European Optical Society. Rapid publications
ISSN: 1990-2573
ISSN-E: 1990-2573
ISSN-L: 1990-2573
Volume: 14
Article number: 3
DOI: 10.1186/s41476-018-0071-2
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 222 Other engineering and technologies
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.