Stimuli-Responsive Microarray Films for Real-Time Sensing of Surrounding Media, Temperature, and Solution Properties via Diffraction Patterns

Jiaxin Zhang, Meiyu Gai, Aleksei V. Ignatov, Sergey A. Dyakov, Jing Wang, Nikolay A. Gippius, Johannes Frueh, Gleb B. Sukhorukov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Stimuli-responsive polymers have attracted increasing attention over the years due to their ability to alter physiochemical properties upon external stimuli. However, many stimuli-responsive polymer-based sensors require specialized and expensive equipment, which limits their applications. Here an inexpensive and portable sensing platform of novel microarray films made of stimuli-responsive polymers is introduced for the real-time sensing of various environmental changes. When illuminated by laser light, microarray films generate diffraction patterns that can reflect and magnify variations of the periodical microstructure induced by surrounding invisible parameters in real time. Stimuli-responsive polyelectrolyte complexes are structured into micropillar arrays to monitor the pH variation and the presence of calcium ions based on reversible swelling/shrinking behaviors of the polymers. A pH hysteretic effect of the selected polyelectrolyte pair is determined and explained. Furthermore, polycaprolactone microchamber arrays are fabricated and display a thermal-driven structural change, which is exploited for photonic threshold temperature detection. Experimentally observed diffraction patterns are additionally compared with rigorous coupled-wave analysis simulations that prove that induced diffraction pattern alterations are solely caused by geometrical microstructure changes. Microarray-based diffraction patterns are a novel sensing platform with versatile sensing capabilities that will likely pave the way for the use of microarray structures as photonic sensors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19080-19091
    Number of pages12
    JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
    Issue number16
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2020


    • ion sensing
    • laser diffraction
    • microarray
    • pH sensing
    • polycaprolactone
    • polyelectrolyte complex
    • stimuli-responsive
    • thermal sensing


    Dive into the research topics of 'Stimuli-Responsive Microarray Films for Real-Time Sensing of Surrounding Media, Temperature, and Solution Properties via Diffraction Patterns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this