Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 November 2012
Molecular sensing using stimuli-responsive viscoelastic property of amphiphilic polymer hydrogel was demonstrated. Thermo-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide); NIPA, hydrogel immobilizing bovine serum albumin (BSA) in its polymer chain was synthesized on the AT-cut QCM (Quartz crystal microbalance). The device was provided to the sensing of anti-BSA antibody. The resonance behavior of QCM in response to the adsorption of anti-BSA antibody on the hydrogel was observed based on both the resonance frequency and resistance of QCM with impedance analysis. The QCM device coated with the LCST polymer hydrogel revealed a characteristic resonance behavior in response to the adsorption of anti-BSA antibody in the collapse phase of gel at which the gel lost most of its hydrated water. The resonance frequency and resistance in the collapsed gel were highly sensitive and their changes in response to the target adsorption were much larger than in the swelling state of gel. The use of the device at the LCST of NIPA gel is ideal because the largest amplification of the adsorption signal is available along with the largest phase change of NIPA gel.
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