Optical sensing, imaging and theranostics

The presence of lateral ionic chains on CPEs means that they show a tendency to undergo ionic self-assembly with oppositely charged species. This often leads to a change in the optical fingerprint of the CPE that can be exploited in optical sensing. We have previously used this approach to develop a sensor platform for the detection of anionic surfactants – commonly encountered pollutants in wastewater. More recently, we have developed a sensor that is able to sequentially detect key phase transitions occurring in model cell membranes. We are currently combining our expertise in CP self-assembly and organic-inorganic hybrid materials to develop core-shell organic-inorganic hybrid nanocapsules that are able to carry and transport optically-responsive molecules for application in sensing and imaging, with the end-goal of combining both functionalities in theranostic platforms.


This is a picture of some yucky looking liquids.

Recent examples

Charge-Mediated Localization of Conjugated Polythiophenes in Zwitterionic Model Cell Membranes, J. E. Houston, M. Kraft, I. Mooney, A. E. Terry, U. Scherf and R. C. Evans*, Langmuir, 2016, 32, 8141–8153.

Sequential Detection of Multiple Phase Transitions in Model Biological Membranes Using a Red-Emitting Conjugated Polyelectrolyte, J. E. Houston, M. Kraft, U. Scherf and R. C. Evans*, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys, 2016, 18, 12423-12427.

Cationic Polythiophene-Surfactant Self-Assembly Complexes: Phase Transitions, Optical Response, and Sensing. R. C. Evans*, M. Knaapila, N. Willis-Fox, M. Kraft, A. Terry, H. D. Burrows, U. Scherf, Langmuir, 2012, 28, 12348-12356.

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