An Environmental Perception Self-Adaptive Discolorable Hydrogel Film toward Sensing and Display

Jingze Xue, Mengnan Yao, Guoyong Wang, Zuankai Wang, Liang Shen, Qingping Liu, Yan Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Vision perception, especially color change, is the most direct and convenient way of feedback among numerous information recognition modes. Because of unique discoloration property upon stimulation, photonic crystals have attracted wide attention. Herein, with a facile UV polymerization process under the magnetic field, a sensitive photonic hydrogel film with vivid structural color is made. The structural color comes from the 1D chain-like structures assembled by the carbon-encapsulated Fe3O4 colloidal nanocrystal clusters (Fe3O4@CNCs), which are embedded in the flexible hydrogel matrix. The hydrogel can adapt its size to the environment, resulting in the regulation of intergranular distance and apparent color variation. Thus, a hydrogel film with humidity, ion concentration, and stress responsivity can be obtained, showing high sensitivity, stability, and full reversibility in a wide range of visible spectrum. It can be designed as a reusable display board or applied to colorimetric measurements similar to pH test paper. Innovatively, the hydrogel film is integrated as back reflectors to improve the efficiency of semitransparent polymer solar cells while protecting devices. This structural color hydrogel film makes it easier to recognize environmental dynamic changes and provide a wider application prospect in optics devices, sensing, display, and diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100116
JournalAdvanced Optical Materials
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • discoloration
  • hydrogel films
  • photonic crystals
  • semitransparent polymer solar cells
  • structural color

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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