Dually fluorescent sensing of pH and dissolved oxygen using a membrane made from polymerizable sensing monomers

Yanqing Tian, Bradley R. Shumway, A. Cody Youngbull, Yongzhong Li, Alex K Y Jen, Roger H. Johnson, Deirdre Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Using a thermal polymerization approach and polymerizable pH and oxygen sensing monomers with green and red emission spectra, respectively, new pH, oxygen, and their dual-sensing membranes were prepared using poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)-co-poly(acrylamide) as a matrix. The sensors were grafted on acrylate-modified quartz glass and characterized under different pH values, oxygen concentrations, ion strengths, temperatures and cell culture media. The pH and oxygen sensors were excited using the same excitation wavelength and exhibited well-separated emission spectra. The pH sensing films showed good response over the pH range 5.5-8.5, corresponding to pKa values in the biologically relevant range between 6.9 and 7.1. The oxygen sensing films exhibited linear Stern-Volmer quenching responses to dissolved oxygen. As the sensing membranes were prepared using thermally initiated polymerization of sensing moiety-containing monomers, no leaching of the sensors from the membranes to buffers or medium was observed. This advantageous characteristic accounts in part for the sensors' biocompatibility without apparent toxicity to HeLa cells after 40 h incubation. The dual-sensing membrane was used to measure pH and dissolved oxygen simultaneously. The measured results correlated with the set-point values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-722
Number of pages9
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 3 2010


  • Dual sensors
  • Membranes
  • Optical sensors
  • Oxygen sensor
  • Polymerizable sensing monomers
  • pH sensor

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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