Polymer technology is one of the fastest growing fields of contemporary research due to the possibility of using a wide variety of synthetic chemical routes for obtaining a polymeric network with a well-defined structure, resulting in materials with outstanding macroscopic properties. Surface engineering techniques based on the implementation of polymeric structures can be used as an interesting tool for the design of materials with functional properties. In this sense, the use of fabrication techniques for the design of nanostructured polymeric coatings is showing an important growth due to the intrinsic advantages of controlling the structure at a nanoscale level because physical, chemical, or optical properties can be considerably improved in comparison with the bulk materials. In addition, the presence of these sensitive polymeric coatings on optical fiber is a hot topic in the scientific community for its implementation in different market niches because a wide variety of parameters can be perfectly measured with a high selectivity, sensitivity, and fast response time. In this work, the two main roles that a polymeric sensitive matrix can play on an optical fiber for sensing applications are evaluated. In a first section, the polymers are used as a solid support for the immobilization of specific sensitive element, whereas in the second section the polymeric matrix is used as the chemical transducer itself. Additionally, potential applications of the optical fiber sensors in fields as diverse as biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental, industry or medicine will be presented in concordance with these two main roles of the polymeric sensitive matrices.
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