Scientists in Australia have developed an optical sensor to be used in wound dressings that signals when a patient’s wound is inflamed or infected.
The sensor, made from polymer-grafted porous silicon, detects a small increase in temperature, which is a classic indication of wound infection. Early diagnosis of infection could be achieved by monitoring the reflectance spectrum of the sensor.
Above a critical temperature value, the polymer changes from a hydrophilic coil to a hydrophobic globule, resulting in changes in its optical properties which are detected by reflectance spectroscopy.
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Study of the Optical Properties of Thermoresponsive Polymer Grafted from Porous silicon scaffolds
S Pace et al., New J. Chem., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/c2nj40693d