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2013 R&D 100 Winner
W-InkLow-cost, convenient diagnostics are sought after, and colorimetric sensors, such as pH paper, offer a compelling mix of features. However, the expansion of colorimetric indicators to broad classes of chemical compounds is challenging because arbitrary chemical processes are seldom coupled to visible color changes. The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Univ., has introduced a multi-functional colorimetric indicator film that is as easy to use as pH paper, but can function with application to any type of liquid. The film, called W-Ink, is equipped with an iridescent surface coating made from ordered, uniformly porous silica glass that is functionalized with complex spatial patterns or gradients of surface chemistry. The encoded surface chemistry reveals specific color patterns when exposed to different liquids. Power-free and low cost, W-Ink is accessible to any type of liquid and can be widely used for liquid identification and authentication. Forgery is nearly impossible because of the unique, multifaceted nature of each coating.

Technology
Colorimetric indicator film

Developers
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Univ.


Development Team

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering's W-Ink development team (l-r): Natalie Koay, Joanna Aizenberg, Ian Burgess.

 







The W-Ink Development Team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Univ.
Joanna Aizenberg, Principal Developer
Ian Burgess, Principal Developer
Natalie Koay, Principal Developer

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