Achievements in guided wave optics have had a great influence on many areas of technology for several years. Fibre optic communication links, sensors for various parameters, recently developed distributed temperature sensors, integrated optical switches, etc. are all applications that are commercially available. The field of analytical chemistry is no exception in this growing technology. In order to compete with well‐established chemical‐sensing instrumentation, optical waveguide chemical sensors (OWCSs) must show all the qualities of such instrumentation. OWCSs combine well‐known features of sensors, based on waveguide optics, with optical methods of chemical analysis and offer advantages over other types of chemical sensor. OWCSs are electrically passive, corrosion‐resistant, can respond to analytes for which other chemical sensors are not available, and referencing can be carried out optically. They allow multicomponent measurements at several wavelengths, have a common technology for fabrication of sensors for different chemical and physical parameters and are easily compatible with telemetry etc. Further, only OWCSs are capable of distributed sensing. However, interference from ambient light, temperature, long‐term instability, relatively slow response time, and limited dynamic range may be a problem for some types of OWCS. These disadvantages can be considerably reduced using various methods.
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