The Orange Side of Disperse Red 1: Humidity-Driven Color Switching in Supramolecular Azo-Polymer Materials Based on Reversible Dye Aggregation

Simon Schoelch, Jaana Vapaavuori, Frederic-Guillaume Rollet, Christopher J. Barrett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Humidity detection, and the quest for low-cost facile humidity-sensitive indicator materials is of great interest for many fields, including semi-conductor processing, food transport and storage, and pharmaceuticals. Ideal humidity-detection materials for a these applications might be based on simple clear optical readout with no power supply, i.e.: a clear color change observed by the naked eye of any untrained observer, since it doesn't require any extra instrumentation or interpretation. Here, the introduction of a synthesis-free one-step procedure, based on physical mixing of easily available commercial materials, for producing a humidity memory material which can be easily painted onto a wide variety of surfaces and undergoes a remarkable color change (approximately 100 nm blue-shift of lambda(MAX)) upon exposure to various thresholds of levels of ambient humidity is reported. This strong color change, easily visible to as a red-to-orange color switch, is locked in until inspection, but can then be restored reversibly if desired, after moderate heating. By taking advantage of spontaneously-forming reversible 'soft' supramolecular bonds between a red-colored azo dye and a host polymer matrix, a reversible dye 'migration' aggregation appearing orange, and dis-aggregation back to red can be achieved, to function as the sensor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1600582
Number of pages8
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • azobenzenes
  • chromophore aggregation
  • humidity sensors
  • optical readout
  • stimuli-responsive materials
  • supramolecular materials
  • LIQUID-CRYSTAL ORDER
  • PHOTOINDUCED BIREFRINGENCE
  • THIN-FILMS
  • COMPLEXES
  • SENSORS
  • POLYIMIDES
  • MORPHOLOGY
  • ORGANOGEL
  • HYDROGEL
  • SYSTEMS

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