Combining material science and chemical engineering design for novel and fast optical nanostructured sensors.

01 January 2018 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
optical nanostructured sensors
Project description

Due to their high relative surface area, nanofibrous materials obtained via electrospinning have

shown to be ideal candidates for high-quality sensors in many sectors, including environmental

monitoring, food inspection and biomedicine. The key challenges remain (i) the controlled

incorporation of analyte-sensitive dye molecules in the nanofibers via chemical linkage without

leaching upon application and (ii) the identification of environmentally friendly electrospinning

conditions, aiming at the production of sensor materials with a long-term water stability. In view of

these challenges and benefiting from the joint expertise of the applicants in material science,

chemical engineering, and polymer chemistry, in this project, electrospinning of copoly(2-oxazoline)

s (PAOx) with immobilized indicator dye molecules is explored. Ultimately, large-scale production of

water-stable PAOx-based nanofibrous sensors will be realized by (i) applying model-based design to

control the microstructure of individual PAOx chains during the synthesis step and (ii) tuning the

electrospinning conditions upon nanofiber production with respect to water stability and sensor

accessibility. Advanced characterization techniques will be used to showcase the controlled dye

incorporation and to confirm the superior behaviour of the obtained sensors, starting from pyrenebased

reference dyes opening up a wide range of potential indicator dyes and relevant applications.