Photonic hydrogel sensors

Ali K. Yetisen, Haider Butt, Lisa R. Volpatti, Ida Pavlichenko, Matjaž Humar, Sheldon J.J. Kwok, Heebeom Koo, Ki Su Kim, Izabela Naydenova, Ali Khademhosseini, Sei Kwang Hahn, Seok Hyun Yun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Analyte-sensitive hydrogels that incorporate optical structures have emerged as sensing platforms for point-of-care diagnostics. The optical properties of the hydrogel sensors can be rationally designed and fabricated through self-assembly, microfabrication or laser writing. The advantages of photonic hydrogel sensors over conventional assay formats include label-free, quantitative, reusable, and continuous measurement capability that can be integrated with equipment-free text or image display. This Review explains the operation principles of photonic hydrogel sensors, presents syntheses of stimuli-responsive polymers, and provides an overview of qualitative and quantitative readout technologies. Applications in clinical samples are discussed, and potential future directions are identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-271
Number of pages22
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Block copolymers
  • Bragg stacks
  • Crystalline colloidal arrays
  • Holography
  • Hydrogels
  • In vitro diagnostics
  • Inverse opals
  • Layer-by-layer deposition
  • Photonic crystals
  • Plasmonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology


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