The Analyst

An electrochemical sensor for nitrobenzene using π-conjugated polymer-embedded nanosilver.

PMID 26936406


A novel electrochemical sensing platform for nitrobenzene has been developed using silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) embedded in the poly(amic) acid (PAA) polymer matrix (PAA-AgNPs). PAA was synthesized via the polycondensation reaction of para-phenylenediamine and benzene-1,2,4,5-tetracarboxylic dianhydride. PAA-AgNP nanocomposites were synthesized by the in situ reduction of a silver precursor by the polymer at room temperature in a one-step approach without using an extraneous reducing or capping agent. The composite was subsequently characterized in solution and as a thin film. The X-ray diffraction technique revealed the crystalline nature of the PAA films with the embedded AgNPs. Unlike conventional polymers, the synthesized PAA membrane exhibits significant UV/Vis spectroscopic response. The sequestered nanoparticles also show the characteristic surface plasmon resonance (SPR) peaks confirming the presence of AgNPs. Integrated charge areas were 4.826 mC and 2.176 C for PAA/GC and PAA-AgNPs/GC respectively. The charge at the PAA-AgNP/GC electrode is 451 times greater than that at the PAA/GC electrode suggesting that the AgNP composite exhibits higher electroactivity. When tested as a sensor for nitrobenzene, the PAA-AgNP modified GC electrode showed promising potential as an electrochemical sensor. The electrochemical sensors exhibit a wide linear dynamic range (10-600 μM) with a correlation coefficient of 0.9735, a detection limit of 1.68 μM and a sensitivity of 7.88 μA μM(-1). The sensor also exhibited minimal interference effects on structurally-similar nitroaromatic compounds and metal species such as 4-nitroaniline (4-NA), 2-nitrophenol (2-NP), dinitrobenzene (DNB), Pb(2+) and Cd(2+).

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