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Keywords:

  • Hydrogels;
  • Inverse opals;
  • Photonic crystals;
  • Sensors

The synthesis, swelling kinetics, and optical diffraction of inverse opal hydrogel sensors (see Figure) are demonstrated. Colloidal crystal templating is used to prepare methacrylate/acrylic acid (AA) copolymers that have an interconnected pore structure, allowing facile diffusion and a relatively rapid response. The system shows good mechanical stability and pH-dependent shifts in optical diffraction regulated by the AA concentration.