Nanofibers are fibers with a diameter that is 1000 times smaller than a human hair. This makes
nanofiber membranes very light and porous, making them ideally suited for sensor applications. By
adding an indicator dye, that is a dye that changes color or fluorescence in reponse to a specific
chemical substance, to the nanofiber membrane, an ultrasensitive optical, chemical sensor is
created. However, to design an optimal sensor, it is important to understand how the synthesis
and production of the nanofibers influence the behavior and performance of the sensor.
Therefore, in this project, different poly(2-oxazoline)s, which are very versatile polymers with
tunable water solubility, will be covalently linked to pyrene, i.e. a fluorescent dye that is used for
visualization. These functionalized polymers will then be processed into nanofibers from water,
which is ecologically more friendly than the current nanofiber production techniques. The
microstructure and behavior of the nanofibers and, thus, the sensor performance, can now be
analyzed as pyrene will function as a probe in visualization techniques. The produced nanofibrous
sensors can be used in many applications, such as the detection of explosives and metal cations.
Moreover, the pyrene-system will be used as a model to efficiently design optimal, optical sensors
that change color in response to pH-changes. These sensors are suited for many applications such
as wound healing, safety equipment and food inspection.