Smart colloidal photonic crystal sensors

Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2024 Feb:324:103089. doi: 10.1016/j.cis.2024.103089. Epub 2024 Jan 22.


Smart colloidal photonic crystals (PCs) with stimuli-responsive periodic micro/nano-structures, photonic bandgaps, and structural colors have shown unique advantages (high sensitivity, visual readout, wireless characteristics, etc.) in sensing by outputting diverse structural colors and reflection signals. In this review, smart PC sensors are summarized according to their fabrications, structures, sensing mechanisms, and applications. The fabrications of colloidal PCs are mainly by self-assembling the well-defined nanoparticles into the periodical structure (supersaturation-, polymerization-, evaporation-, shear-, interaction-, and field-induced self-assembly process). Their structures can be divided into two groups: closely packed and non-closely packed nano-structures. The sensing mechanisms can be explained by Bragg's law, including the change in the effective refractive index, lattice constant, and the order degree. The sensing applications are detailly introduced according to the analytes of the target, including solvents, vapors, humidity, mechanical force, temperature, electrical field, magnetic field, pH, ions/molecules, and so on. Finally, the corresponding challenges and the future potential prospects of artificial smart colloidal PCs in the sensing field are discussed.

Keywords: Photonic crystals; Reflection wavelength; Refractive index; Sensors; Stimuli; Structural colors.

Publication types

  • Review