Porous Si/hydrogel thin films combine a porous Si optical nanostructure and a functional hydrogel. These hybrids show great promise as versatile platforms for the fabrication of miniaturized sensors with various transduction mechanisms, cell culture supports, autonomous drug delivery systems, and many other functional systems. The basic considerations in designing functional PSi/hydrogel hybrids, synthesis routes, and novel characterization methods are discussed. New exciting applications of these nanomaterials as label-free optical biosensing platforms for bacteria and organophosphates detection are described.
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