High-Performance and Multifunctional Colorimetric Humidity Sensors Based on Mesoporous Photonic Crystals and Nanogels. Academic Article uri icon


  • Colorimetric sensors, as a key branch of the application of photonic crystals (PCs), brings enthusiasm to scientists to do research. Here, simple mesoporous and structurally colored one-dimensional photonic crystals (1DPCs) constructed by alternating assembly of poly(acrylamide- N,N'-methylene bis(acrylamide)) (P(AM-MBA)) nanogels and TiO2 nanoparticles are reported as high-performance colorimetric humidity sensors. The sensors with bright colors display rapid response to relative humidity (RH) change and reach sensing balance in 0.5 s. By varying RH from 47.0% to 89.3%, stopband of a sensor changes from 426 to 668 nm, almost spanning the whole visible range. Meanwhile, visual sensing of RH possesses good reversibility and repeatability. Moreover, the sensors with delicate patterns are facilely fabricated by partial UV photodegradation of the polymer layers with nano TiO2 as catalyst. The delicate patterns and backgrounds show different colors and change color simultaneously and quickly by varying the ambient humidity. Accurate QR code pattern is also realized on the PC sensor; it is found successful reading of the data is only achieved by increasing RH to realize high color contrast between the code and background. Given their excellent properties, the porous hybrid PCs are promising as high-performance humidity sensors with potential display, decoration, information-storage, and encryption functions.

published proceedings

  • ACS Appl Mater Interfaces

author list (cited authors)

  • Kou, D., Ma, W., Zhang, S., Lutkenhaus, J. L., & Tang, B.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Kou, Donghui||Ma, Wei||Zhang, Shufen||Lutkenhaus, Jodie L||Tang, Bingtao

publication date

  • December 2018