The lack of cost-effective systems for the assessment of air pollutants is a concern for health and safety in urban and industrial areas. The use of polymer thin films as label-free colorimetric sensors featuring specific interactions with pollutants would then represent a paradigm shift in environmental monitoring and packaging technologies, allowing to assess air quality, formation of byproducts in closed environment, and the barrier properties of the polymers. To this end, all-polymer distributed Bragg reflectors represent a promising approach toward a reliable and cost-effective transduction of chemical stimuli and effective colorimetric label-free selective detectors. We show selectivity attained by specific interactions between the polymer and analytes. Such interactions drive the analyte intercalation through the polymer structure and its kinetics, converting it in a dynamic optical response which is at the basis of the Flory-Huggins photonic sensors. The multivariate analyses of the response kinetics also allow distinguishing binary mixtures. Additionally, we demonstrate that such optical responses can be used to esteem the diffusion coefficients of small molecules within polymer media via simple UV-vis spectroscopy retrieving data comparable to those obtained with state-of-the-art gravimetric procedures. Last, we assess the figures of merit of the sensors in terms of lower detection limit, sensitivity, and reversibility, demonstrating that such devices can pave the way to an innovative, simple, and low-cost detection method integrable to in situ assessment of barrier polymers used for the encapsulation of optoelectronic devices, food packaging, and goods storage in general.

Flory-Huggins Photonic Sensors for the Optical Assessment of Molecular Diffusion Coefficients in Polymers

Lova, Paola;Manfredi, Giovanni;Bastianini, Chiara;Mennucci, Carlo;Buatier de Mongeot, Francesco;Servida, Alberto;Comoretto, Davide
2019

Abstract

The lack of cost-effective systems for the assessment of air pollutants is a concern for health and safety in urban and industrial areas. The use of polymer thin films as label-free colorimetric sensors featuring specific interactions with pollutants would then represent a paradigm shift in environmental monitoring and packaging technologies, allowing to assess air quality, formation of byproducts in closed environment, and the barrier properties of the polymers. To this end, all-polymer distributed Bragg reflectors represent a promising approach toward a reliable and cost-effective transduction of chemical stimuli and effective colorimetric label-free selective detectors. We show selectivity attained by specific interactions between the polymer and analytes. Such interactions drive the analyte intercalation through the polymer structure and its kinetics, converting it in a dynamic optical response which is at the basis of the Flory-Huggins photonic sensors. The multivariate analyses of the response kinetics also allow distinguishing binary mixtures. Additionally, we demonstrate that such optical responses can be used to esteem the diffusion coefficients of small molecules within polymer media via simple UV-vis spectroscopy retrieving data comparable to those obtained with state-of-the-art gravimetric procedures. Last, we assess the figures of merit of the sensors in terms of lower detection limit, sensitivity, and reversibility, demonstrating that such devices can pave the way to an innovative, simple, and low-cost detection method integrable to in situ assessment of barrier polymers used for the encapsulation of optoelectronic devices, food packaging, and goods storage in general.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/944562
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