This Review covers photonic crystals (PhCs) and their use for sensing mainly chemical and biochemical parameters, with a particular focus on the materials applied. Specific sections are devoted to a) a lead-in into natural and synthetic photonic nanoarchitectures, b) the various kinds of structures of PhCs, c) reflection and diffraction in PhCs, d) aspects of sensing based on mechanical, thermal, optical, electrical, magnetic, and purely chemical stimuli, e) aspects of biosensing based on biomolecules incorporated into PhCs, and f) current trends and limitations of such sensors.
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