An optical sensor based on a photonic polymer film to detect calcium in serum

M. Moirangthem, R. Arts, M. Merkx, A.P.H.J. Schenning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)
292 Downloads (Pure)


An optical calcium sensor is fabricated based on a cholesteric liquid crystalline (CLC) polymer containing benzoic acid metal binding sites. A chiral imprinted CLC polymer is made which is subsequently treated with KOH to yield a responsive green reflecting film. On investigation of various metal ions, the polymer film shows a high optical response, and selectivity for calcium ions, which is related to the preorganized binding sites in the ordered liquid crystalline phase, leading to a blue reflecting film. The photonic polymer film is sensitive to Ca2+ within the physiologically relevant concentration range of 10-4 to 10-2 m. Measurement of total calcium concentration in serum is also investigated using the film. The optical responses of normal serum and samples mimicking hypocalcemia and hypercalcemia can be clearly distinguished, providing a cheap, battery-free, and easy-to-use alternative for calcium determination in clinical diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154-1160
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2016


  • calcium detection
  • cholesteric liquid crystals
  • optical sensors
  • photonic materials
  • serum


Dive into the research topics of 'An optical sensor based on a photonic polymer film to detect calcium in serum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this