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The early developments of an optical gas sensor combining plasma ignition by silicon electrode arrays and optical detection coupled with image processing are presented in this paper. The principle of the sensor under development is based on the ionization of chemical species under intense electrical fields and the detection by optical sensors of photons created by glow discharges. Electrodes optimization by electrostatic simulations has led to the design and fabrication of micromachined silicon igniters bonded to a glass substrate. First characterizations of the plasma igniters will be also presented.