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

01 January 2018 → 31 December 2021
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.