Micro- and Nanostructured Polyaniline for Instant Identification of Metal Ions in Solution.


Laboratory for Materials Physicochemistry and Nanotechnology, Faculty of Chemistry, Umultowska 89b; Wielkopolska Centre for Advanced Technologies (WCZT), Umultowska 89c, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poznań, Poland. [Email]


The unique properties of nanomaterials enable the creation new analytical devices. Polyaniline (PANI) micro- and nanofiber network, freestanding in the gap between two gold microelectrodes, has been used in a new nanodetector for metal ions in solutions. The gold electrodes were modified with the aid of alkanethiols, forming a self-assembled monolayer (SAM), which is able to block the ion current flow, but also to interact with metal ions when specific functional molecules are incorporated into the layer. The electric field of the trapped metal ions induces change of the electrical conductivity of polyaniline nanofibers in vicinity. A small injected sample (75 μL) of a solution of salt (about 0.5 μg of salt) was enough to induce a reproducible change in the electrical conductivity of polyaniline nano-network, which was registered as a function of time within 10⁻20 s. The response was proportional to the concentration of ions. It also depends on properties of ions, e.g., the ionic radius, which allows for identification of metal ions by analyzing the parameters of the signal: the retention time (RT), half width (HW), amplitude (A) and integral intensity (INT). The advantage of the new device is the instant responsiveness and easy operation, but also the simple construction based on organic (polymer) technology. The system is "open"-when learned and calibrated adequately, other metal ions can be analyzed. The nanodetector can be used in cases where monitoring of the presence and concentration of metal ions is important.



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