The fluorescent dye 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonate (pyranine) combines high photostability with ratiometric pH detection in the physiological range, making it a prime candidate for optical sensors in biomedical applications, such as pH-based chronic wound monitoring. However, pyranine's high water solubility and the difficulty of covalent attachment pose severe limitations in terms of leaching from sensor matrices. Herein, pyranine-modified nanophase-separated amphiphilic polymer conetworks (APCNs) are reported as fluorescent ratiometric pH sensors. The thin, freestanding APCN membranes composed of one hydrophilic and one hydrophobic polymer provide an optically transparent, flexible, and stable ideal matrix that enables contact between dye and aqueous environment. An active ester-based conjugation approach results in a highly homogeneous and stable pyranine modification of the APCN's hydrophilic phase. This concept effectively solves the leaching challenge for pyranine without compromising its functionality, which is demonstrated by ratiometric pH detection in the range of pH 5–9.
- amphiphilic polymers conetworks
- fluorescent dyes
- nanophase separation
- optical pH sensors