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The lack of sensors for low cost, extensive, and continuous detection of vapor pollutants is a serious concern for health and safety in industrialized urban areas. Colorimetric sensors, such as distributed Bragg reflectors made of polymers, could achieve this task thanks to their low cost and easy signal transduction but are typically affected by low vapor permeability and lack of selectivity without chemical labeling. Here we demonstrate all-polymer Bragg multilayers for label-free selective detection of organic volatile compounds. The system exploits the ability of amorphous poly(p-phenylene oxide), PPO, to uptake large amount of guest molecules and to form cocrystalline phases with distinct optical properties. Bragg stacks embedding PPO active layers show selective colorimetric response to vapors of carbon tetrachloride and aromatic homologues, which can be revealed by the naked eye.
American Chemical Society
Publication date: 
3 Nov 2016

Paola Lova, Chiara Bastianini, Paolo Giusto, Maddalena Patrini, Paola Rizzo, Gaetano Guerra, Mario Iodice, Cesare Soci, Comoretto Davide

Biblio References: 
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces