Effect of alkyl chain length on chemical sensing of polydiacetylene and polydiacetylene/ZnO nanocomposites

Aide Wu, Yuan Gu, Huiquan Tian, John F. Federici, Zafar Iqbal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Polydiacetylenes (PDAs) and PDA/ZnO nanocomposites based on the monomers 10,12-pentacosadiynoic acid (PCDA), 10,12-tricosadiynoic acid (TCDA), and 10,12-docosadiynedioic acid (DCDA) monomers have been investigated for chromatic chemical sensing of a number of organic liquids. Chromatic sensitivity is associated with the interaction of the organic liquid with the PDA side chain to give rise to the strain-induced blue to red colorimetric transition. Attenuated total reflection (ATR) Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy demonstrated that in the PDA/ZnO nanocomposites, the PDA side chains form chelates with ZnO. The chromatic properties of PDAs and PDA/ZnO composites in organic liquids, to certain extent, depend on the side-chain length and the number of carboxylic head groups. Pure PDAs and PDA/ZnO nanocomposites in different organic liquids studied by Raman spectroscopy show that the chromatic selectivity of PDAs for certain organic liquids with respect to the blue to red phase transition is closely related to the side-chain structure of the PDAs. Moreover, the interactions are stronger with those PDAs where the blue to red transition is irreversible. Density functional theory (DFT) simulations show that the chromatic sensitivity of the PDAs toward a particular organic correlates with the C–C bond torsion angle of the PDA backbone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3137-3146
Number of pages10
JournalColloid and Polymer Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


  • Chemosensor
  • Conjugated polymer
  • DFT simulation
  • Nanocomposite


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