High-Precision Colorimetric Sensing by Dynamic Tracking of Solvent Diffusion in Hollow-Sphere Photonic Crystals
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.34133/2022/9813537
Expensive instruments and complicated data processing are often required to discriminate solvents with similar structures and properties. Colorimetric sensors with high selectivity, low cost, and good portability are highly desirable to simplify such detection tasks. Herein, we report the fabrication of a photonic crystal sensor based on the self-assembled resorcinol formaldehyde (RF) hollow spheres to realize colorimetric sensing of polar solvents, including homologs and isomers based on the saturated diffusion time. The diffusion of solvent molecules through the photonic crystal film exhibits a unique three-step diffusion profile accompanied by a dynamic color change, as determined by the physicochemical properties of the solvent molecules and their interactions with the polymer shells, making it possible to accurately identify the solvent type based on the dynamic reflection spectra or visual perception. With its superior selectivity and sensitivity, this single-component colorimetric sensor represents a straightforward tool for convenient solvent detection and identification.