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Sensors 2012, 12(12), 16954-16963; doi:10.3390/s121216954

Photonic Crystal Based Sensor for Organic Solvents and for Solvent-Water Mixtures

Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and Biosensors, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 October 2012 / Revised: 28 November 2012 / Accepted: 5 December 2012 / Published: 12 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Germany 2012)
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Monodisperse polystyrene nanoparticles with a diameter of 173 nm were incorporated into a polydimethylsiloxane matrix where they display an iridescent color that can be attributed to the photonic crystal effect. The film is of violet color if placed in plain water, but turns to red in the presence of the non-polar solvent n-hexane. Several solvents were studied in some detail. We show that such films are capable of monitoring the water content of ethanol/water mixtures, where only 1% (v/v) of water leads to a shift of the peak wavelength of reflected light by 5 nm. The method also can be applied to determine, both visually and instrumentally, the fraction of methanol in ethanol/methanol mixtures. Here, a fraction of 1% of methanol (v/v) results in a wavelength shift of 2 nm. The reflected wavelength is not influenced by temperature changes nor impeded by photobleaching. The signal changes are fully reversible and response times are <1 s.
Keywords: photonic crystal; sensor; PDMS; solvent polarity; water sensor photonic crystal; sensor; PDMS; solvent polarity; water sensor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Fenzl, C.; Hirsch, T.; Wolfbeis, O.S. Photonic Crystal Based Sensor for Organic Solvents and for Solvent-Water Mixtures. Sensors 2012, 12, 16954-16963.

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