Optical interference-based sensors for the visual detection of nano-scale objects†
In this study, we present a new concept for the simple visual detection of nano-scale objects in solutions. To achieve this goal, we developed chromogen-free interference-based sensors that provided a color visible reaction directly after the interaction of the analyte with the substrate. The effect is based on the strong optical interference occurring at the interface between the inkjet printed sol–gel titania film (a layer with high refractive index) and the adsorbed nano-sized objects (layer with low refractive index), which can be detected even with the naked eye. Herein, we have developed a synthetic strategy for the inkjet printing of interference sensors with controllable color change through thickness adjustment.