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Optical devices were fabricated by sandwiching a “monolithic” poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-N-(3-aminopropyl) methacrylamide hydrochloride) (pNIPAm-co-APMAH) microgel layer between two semitransparent Au layers. These devices, referred to as etalons, exhibit characteristic multipeak reflectance spectra, and the position of the peaks in the spectra primarily depends on the distance between the Au surfaces mediated by the microgel layer thickness. Here, we show that the positively charged microgel layer can collapse in the presence of negatively charged single stranded DNA (ssDNA) due to ssDNA induced microgel crosslinking. The collapse results in a change in the etalon's optical properties, which can be used to detect target DNA in a complex mixture.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Analytica Chimica Acta. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Analytica Chimica Acta, volume 843, in 2014.

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