Researchers have reported a sustainable, insoluble, and chiral photonic cellulose nanocrystal patch for calcium ion (Ca2+) sensing in sweat.

The researchers developed a simple and efficient method to fabricate insoluble CNC-based hydrogels. They found that by utilizing intermolecular hydrogen bond reconstruction, thermal dehydration enabled the optimized CNC composite photonic film to form a stable hydrogel network in an aqueous solution. Moreover, they indicated that hydrogel could be reversibly switched between dry and wet states, which was convenient for specific functionalization.

The introduction of functionalized molecules by adsorption swelling in a liquid environment resulted in a hydrogel with freeze resistance (–20 °C), strong adhesion, good biocompatibility, and high sensitivity to Ca2+.

This work is expected to facilitate the application of sustainable cellulose sensors to monitor other metabolites (i.e., glucose, urea, and vitamins, etc.).

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