Color-changing polymer developed by University of Pennsylvania reveals head trauma, helping flag injuries that might have gone untreated

Soldiers’ lives are always on the line. Athletes also suffer many life-threatening blows for the love of the game. Accidents can happen anytime. How would one know if he or she is already suffering from a brain injury if there are no other obvious symptoms? A team from the University of Pennsylvania developed a polymer that changes color upon impact to determine whether a person has suffered head trauma, as reported by the American Chemical Society.

Shu Yang spearheads the team of researchers alongside Younghyun Chou, one of the developers of the polymer. The team used holographic lithography to equip the photonic crystals with specific design structures. When force is applied to this material, the force deforms the crystals and therefore, changes the crystals’ internal structures. As a result, the color of the crystal changes.

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