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Responsive inverse opal hydrogels for the sensing macromolecules

: Couturier, Jean-Philippe; Sütterlin, Martin; Laschewsky, André; Hettrich, Cornelia; Wischerhoff, Erik


Angewandte Chemie. International edition 54 (2015), Nr.22, S.6641-6644
ISSN: 1433-7851
ISSN: 0044-8249
ISSN: 0570-0833
ISSN: 1521-3773
Fraunhofer IAP ()
Fraunhofer IZI ()
hydrogel; photonic crystals; polymers; responsive materials; sensors

Dual responsive inverse opal hydrogels were designed as autonomous sensor systems for (bio)macromolecules, exploiting the analyte-induced modulation of the opal’s structural color. The systems that are based on oligo(ethylene glycol) macromonomers additionally incorporate comonomers with various recognition units. They combine a coil-to-globule collapse transition of the LCST type with sensitivity of the transition temperature toward molecular recognition processes. This enables the specific detection of macromolecular analytes, such as glycopolymers and proteins, by simple optical methods. While the inverse opal structure assists the effective diffusion even of large analytes into the photonic crystal, the stimulus responsiveness gives rise to strong shifts of the optical Bragg peak of more than 100 nm upon analyte binding at a given temperature. The systems’ design provides a versatile platform for the development of easy-to-use, fast, and low-cost sensors for pathogens.