Diffraction from a photonic crystal material composed of a hydrolyzed polymerized crystalline colloidal array (PCCA) can be used to sense pH and ionic strength. The PCCA is a polyacrylamide hydrogel which embeds a polystyrene crystalline colloidal array (CCA). The diffracted wavelength of the PCCA changes as the PCCA volume changes due to the alterations in the CCA lattice constant. We examine the pH and ionic strength dependence of the hydrolyzed PCCA volume by monitoring the Bragg diffracted wavelength. We also develop a zero free parameter quantitative model to describe the pH and ionic strength dependence of the hydrogel volume.
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