Multi-Modal Multi-Array Electrochemical and Optical Sensor Suite for a Biological CubeSat Payload

Saeyoung Kim, Sanghyun Park, James Jungho Pak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CubeSats have emerged as cost-effective platforms for biological research in low Earth orbit (LEO). However, they have traditionally been limited to optical absorbance sensors for studying microbial growth. This work has made improvements to the sensing capabilities of these small satellites by incorporating electrochemical ion-selective pH and pNa sensors with optical absorbance sensors to enrich biological experimentation and greatly expand the capabilities of these payloads. We have designed, built, and tested a multi-modal multi-array electrochemical-optical sensor module and its ancillary systems, including a fluidic card and an on-board payload computer with custom firmware. Laboratory tests showed that the module could endure high flow rates (1 mL/min) without leakage, and the 27-well, 81-electrode sensor card accurately detected pH (71.0 mV/pH), sodium ion concentration (75.2 mV/pNa), and absorbance (0.067 AU), with the sensors demonstrating precise linear responses (R2 ≈ 0.99) in various test solutions. The successful development and integration of this technology conclude that CubeSat bio-payloads are now poised for more complex and detailed investigations of biological phenomena in space, marking a significant enhancement of small-satellite research capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number265
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.


  • CubeSat
  • detector
  • electrochemical
  • electrode
  • multi-array
  • multi-modal
  • optical
  • payload

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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