A combination of optical absorption and scattering is used to detect tracer species in a strongly scattering medium. An optical setup was developed, consisting of a dual-beam scattering detection scheme in which sample scattering beam overlaps with the characteristic absorption feature of quantum dot tracer species, while the reference scattering beam is outside any absorption features of the tracer. This scheme was successfully tested in engineered breakthrough tests typical of wastewater and subsurface fluid analysis, as well as in batch analysis of oil and gas reservoir fluids and biological samples. Tracers were detected even under highly scattering conditions, conditions in which conventional absorption or fluorescence methods failed.
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