Hydrogels in sensing applications

Daniel Buenger, Fuat Topuz, Juergen Groll*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

614 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogels are hydrophilic, highly water swellable polymer networks capable of converting chemical energy into mechanical energy and vice versa. They can be tailored regarding their chemical nature and physical structure, sensitiveness to external stimuli and biocompatibility; they can be formed in various structures and integrated into (micro-)systems. Accordingly, over the last decade, these materials have gained considerable recognition as valuable tool for sensors and in diagnostics. This article reviews the use of hydrogels in sensor development with focus on recent efforts in the application of stimuli responsive hydrogels as sensors, hydrogels as suitable matrices in which the sensing (bio-)molecules are embedded and hydrogels for modification and protection of sensor surfaces. In the first part of the review, both sensors and hydrogels are defined and a basic theoretical overview of hydrogels and their behavior is given. Subsequent chapters focus on hydrogels in physicochemical and biochemical sensing mechanisms with a primary emphasis on the hydrogels as such and the applied sensing mechanism. Finally, the review is concluded by a summary and discussion including an outlook on future perspectives for hydrogels in sensing applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1678-1719
Number of pages42
JournalProgress in Polymer Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


The authors gratefully acknowledge the DFG funded SPP 1257 for financial support and stimulating discussions. F. T. thanks to Marie Curie ITN project Hierarchy (contract: PITN-2007-215851) for PhD fellowship. This review evolved from the book chapter cited in reference [115] , coauthored by the authors of this review, together with D. Tanaka. This review, which presents an updated, more detailed and broadened version of the topic in reference [115] , reproduces segments from that source, with the permission of the publisher, Elsevier Ltd.

FundersFunder number
Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftPITN-2007-215851


    • Biosensors
    • Hydrogels
    • Phase transitions
    • Sensors
    • Stimuli responsive


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