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Colorimetric Sensors

Supramolecular Devices

  1. Hiromitsu Maeda1,
  2. Pavel Anzenbacher Jr2

Published Online: 15 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470661345.smc098

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

How to Cite

Maeda, H. and Anzenbacher, P. 2012. Colorimetric Sensors. Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Ritsumeikan University, Kusatsu, Japan

  2. 2

    Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2012


This chapter is devoted to colorimetric sensors and sensors that utilize changes in absorption of light in general as a signal output to provide the evidence for sensor-analyte association. First, the photophysical processes associated with absorption of light and the molecular orbital reasons for color change are discussed. The following sections give a brief explanation of typical molecular architectures used in colorimetric sensor design as well as a typical instrumentation used in such studies. The following sections describe colorimetric sensors for cations, anions, and electroneutral molecules or zwitterions such as amino acids. Finally, alternative approaches utilizing, for example, hybrid organic-inorganic materials, self-signaling polymers, and materials utilizing changes in structural color output are also briefly discussed.


  • sensor;
  • color;
  • light absorption;
  • colorimetry;
  • absorption;
  • anion;
  • cation;
  • array