Gold—poly(dimethyl siloxoxane) (Au-PDMS) nanocomposite films with a high elasticity were fabricated for sensing experiments. The nanocomposite was prepared by a novel in-situ method by using the ethanol solution of the chloroauric acid. The high rate of permeation of ethanol
in the polymer film, compared to an aqueous solution, allows the introduction of the gold precursor into the polymer network with a higher rate and, thus the reduction reaction is accelerated. The strong hydrophobicity of the as-prepared films precludes the diffusion of aqueous solutions of
biomolecules in the polymer network, essential for sensing purposes. In order to modify the morphology and the surface properties of the samples, they have been heat-treated and the polymer network has been expanded mechanically by repeated swellings and shrinkages. As a result, the free volume
of the polymer is increased substantially and thus, the biosensing capability of the material is improved. The effect of gold nanoparticles on the porosity and the mechanical properties of the material has been studied. The highest value of the sensitivity (around 70 nm/RIU) has been obtained
for the samples that were annealed and, subsequently swollen in toluene. Biosensing experiments involving antigen-antibody interactions showed a high sensitivity. The results of this work are relevant for sensing in a microfluidic environment.
Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.