Ultrasensitive pH Detection Using Hydrogel

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The pH meter is a commonly used instrument in many laboratories that perform chemical or biological research. The pH change is caused by the release of hydrogen (H+) or hydroxide (OH-) ions as the byproducts of chemical reactions. Accordingly, when H+/OH- are released in small amounts, the resulting pH shift is expected to be small. Hence, a device that allows sensitive detection of pH shifts is important.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a stimulus-responsive hydrogel that is patterned in the form of a diffraction grating. When the grating is illuminated with a coherent light source, the reflected light pattern forms diffraction modes. When the pH in the medium changes, the grating swells or shrinks and is revealed by a change in the intensities of the diffraction modes. This technology provides an ultrasensitive chemical detection method that is cost-effective and remarkably easy to fabricate and use. Since the hydrogel can be made to respond to various other stimuli, the system's scope can easily expand to detect other stimuli such as biomolecules, small molecules, ions, cells, bacteria, and viruses. It could be used to detect indicators/markers of disease or contaminants in drinking water and food.

Advantages:
-Ultrasensitive pH detection for chemical and biological systems
-Adaptable for use in detecting indicators/markers of disease or contaminants in drinking water and food
-Could be miniaturized for handheld devices

Potential Applications:
-Chemical analysis
-Biosensors
-Disease detection
-Contaminant detection
-Food industry
Dec 5, 2011
Utility Patent
United States
8,663,563
Mar 4, 2014

May 6, 2011
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
(None)

Dec 3, 2010
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
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Dec 3, 2009
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
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Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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