Mechanochromic response of pyrene functionalized nanocomposite hydrogels

Filippo Cellini, Leanne Block, Jie Li, Sachin Khapli, Sean D. Peterson, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mechanochromic polymers display detectable changes in their fluorescence emission upon deformation of their macromolecular structure. Here, we study reversible mechanochromism of pyrene functionalized nanocomposite hydrogels. Highly stretchable nanocomposite hydrogels are prepared by free radical polymerization of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and pyrene terminated poly(ethylene) glycol methacrylate copolymers in the presence of nanoclay, acting as the physical crosslinker. Mechanochromic behavior is characterized through uniaxial tensile experiments, where force, deformation, and fluorescence emission are simultaneously measured. To demonstrate the application of mechanochromic nanocomposite hydrogels in pressure sensing, membranes are used to detect differential pressures on the order of 102 Pa. We envision the integration of these mechanochromic hydrogels in the design of novel force and pressure sensors with application to mechanics, fluid dynamics, and biophysics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-520
Number of pages11
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
StatePublished - Oct 29 2016


  • Fluorescence sensing
  • Mechanochromism
  • Monomer-excimer fluorescence
  • Nanocomposite hydrogel
  • Pressure sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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