Amphiphilic diblock copolymer-based multiagent photonic sensing scheme

Significance Statement

The use of Polymer Optical Fibers POF in combination with functional nanostructured materials is proposed as a viable approach for developing an integrated photonics platform of low circuitry complexity and cost, combining desired characteristics such as reliability, operational autonomy and safe operation in presence of high electromagnetic fields or even in potentially explosive/flammable environments. The proposed photonic sensing scheme / platform, provides the potential to incorporate optical sensors in hybrid sensing nodes of Wireless Sensor Networks for environmental and infrastructures’ monitoring and management which is a technological field of enormous development and associated economic interest.

Functionalization of POFs’ surface by novel customizable materials could lead to the development of multiagent sensors. Here, the employed poly(styrene sulfonate-b-tert-butylstyrene) diblock copolymer (SPS-b-PtBS), specially designed material, possesses two blocks of distinctively different polarity and charge, the hydrophilic SPS which can interact with polar substances and the hydrophobic PtBS which interacts favorably with non-polar organic solvents.

The developed sensor is sensitive to various analytes, like toxic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene and toluene), ammonia, relative humidity levels and specific proteins like lysozyme, which find applications in industrial or environmental monitoring and chemical or food industry. Furthermore the sensor operates at room temperature as opposed to alternative usually more complicated techniques. The specific copolymers’ high glass transition temperature enables the formation of stable overlayers and thus environmentally robust sensors with additional characteristics of fast response, high operational reversibility, reusability in successively different testing agents and due to their low cost, their use is affordable even as  disposable sensors in related applications. Demonstrated sensors are supplied and controlled by a prototype Fiber Optic Driver Circuit Board (FODCB) incorporating an LED source of 200 µW optical power at 650nm wavelength and a phototransistor followed by an amplification unit connected to the A/D converter of a wireless sensor node circuitry for further processing.

 

Amphiphilic diblock copolymer-based multiagent photonic sensing scheme copy

Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, Volume 52, Issue 1, pages 46–54, 1 January 2014.

Loukas Athanasekos (1,2), Alexandros El Sachat (1), Stergios Pispas (1),   Christos Riziotis (1,*)

  1. Theoretical and Physical Chemistry Institute, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece.
  1. Department of Materials Science, University of Patras, Patras, Greece.

Abstract

Efficient functionalization of polymer optical fibers’ (POF) surface by a novel block copolymer material toward the development of low-cost multiagent sensors is presented. The employed poly(styrene sulfonate-b-tert-butylstyrene) (SPS-b-PtBS) diblock copolymer possesses two blocks of distinctively different polarity and charge, the hydrophilic SPS which is sensitive to polar substances and the hydrophobic PtBS which is sensitive to organic solvents. The coexistence of two different blocks allows for the detection of a wide variety of agents, ranging from ammonia, and organic solvents, to biomolecules like lysozyme, at room temperature as opposed to alternative usually more complicated techniques, all with the sole use of one sensing medium. Copolymers’ high glass transition temperature enables the formation of stable and environmentally robust overlayers. The sensing performance of the material is evaluated experimentally on the customizable platform of POFs, demonstrating fast response, high operational reversibility, and also reusability in successively different testing agents. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

 

Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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