John Garner

pH sensitive Aquagel from Akina, Inc. used for strain-based pH sensor development

Blog Post created by John Garner on Jul 15, 2016

PolySciTech division of Akina, Inc ( provides a wide variety of research products including superporous hydrogels developed using Akina’s Aquagel technology originally spun-off from Purdue University under Kinam Park’s lab. One of the materials marketed by this route is pH sensitive aquagel that deswells in acidic conditions ( Recently, this aquagel was combined with a thin PDMS membrane and an advanced laser detection system to create a pH sensor based on hydrogel strain. This research holds the potential for developing robust micro-sensors for small-scale applications such as detection of local pH changes in biological systems. Read more about this here: Choi, Jae-Hyuck, You-Shin No, Jae-Pil So, Jung Min Lee, Kyoung-Ho Kim, Min-Soo Hwang, Soon-Hong Kwon, and Hong-Gyu Park. "A high-resolution strain-gauge nanolaser." Nature communications 7 (2016). _id=NCOMMS-20160518


  “Abstract: Interest in mechanical compliance has been motivated by the development of flexible electronics and mechano-sensors. In particular, studies and characterization of structural deformation at the fundamental scale can offer opportunities to improve the device sensitivity and spatiotemporal response; however, the development of precise measurement tools with the appropriate resolution remains a challenge. Here we report a flexible and stretchable photonic crystal nanolaser whose spectral and modal behaviours are sensitive to nanoscale structural alterations. Reversible spectral tuning of ~26 nm in lasing wavelength, with a sub-nanometer resolution of less than ~0.6 nm, is demonstrated in response to applied strain ranging from −10 to 12%. Instantaneous visualization of the sign of the strain is also characterized by exploring the structural and corresponding modal symmetry. Furthermore, our high-resolution strain-gauge nanolaser functions as a stable and deterministic strain-based pH sensor in an opto-fluidic system, which may be useful for further analysis of chemical/biological systems.”