Real-Time Packing Behavior of Core-Shell Silica@Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) Microspheres as Photonic Crystals for Visualizing in Thermal Sensing.
ABSTRACT: We grafted thermo-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) brushes from monodisperse SiO₂ microspheres through surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI ATRP) to generate core-shell structured SiO₂@PNIPAM microspheres (SPMs). Regular-sized SPMs dispersed in aqueous solution and packed as photonic crystals (PCs) in dry state. Because of the microscale of the SPMs, the packing behavior of the PCs in water can be observed by optical microscopy. By increasing the temperature above the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of PNIPAM, the reversible swelling and shrinking of the PNIPAM shell resulted in dispersion and precipitation (three-dimensional aggregation) of the SPM in aqueous solution. The SPMs were microdispersed in a water layer to accommodate the aggregation along two dimensions. In the microdispersion, the SPMs are packed as PCs with microscale spacing between SPMs below the LCST. When the temperature is increased above the LCST, the microdispersed PCs exhibited a close-packed arrangement along two dimensions with decreased spacing between SPMs. The change in spacing with increasing temperature above the LCST resulted in a color change from red to blue, which could be observed by the naked eye at an incident angle. Thus, the SPM array could be applied as a visual temperature sensor.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC6431998 | BioStudies |