Light-Based pH Sensor Glows With Promise

Skip the litmus paper; instead, a new type of pH sensor based on the current light developed by a global research team could provide users with an immediate visual readout and continuously capture a signal without interfering with the monitored biological systems. The scientists think their proof-of-concept gadget could inspire the creation of other sensors.

Such a flexible pH sensor might be used in tissue engineering or for tracking the development of conditions like cancer. Researchers claim that studies examining the capacity to grow teeth, heart, bone, and other tissues could profit tremendously from monitoring crucial properties like pH.

The main goal is to create various non-destructive assessment tools that would enable tissue engineers to monitor the condition of their cell culture without ever having to remove the instruments or the cells from the incubator.

The proof-of-concept gadget combines chemistry and photonics technology. The study team uses a fiber-optic platform to gauge the heat of pH-sensitive, color-changing chromophores released when light is absorbed.

A tiny optical fiber with a Bragg grating is coated in a cross-linked hydrogel containing chromophores. The fiber transforms into a photonic thermometer when temperature or pressure variations change the wavelength of light that can travel through the grating.

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