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Solid-phase colorimetric sensing probe for bromide based on a tough hydrogel embedded with silver nanoprisms.

Analytica chimica acta (2020-09-16)
Sang Heon Kim, Hee-Chul Woo, Mun Ho Kim
ABSTRACT

Sharp-tipped anisotropic silver (Ag) nanostructures are attracting increasing attention because of their unusual optical properties. However, the sharp tips make such nanostructures thermodynamically unstable; thus, they have been considered unsuitable for use in colorimetric sensing because of their tendency to aggregate or transform in a solution state. In the present study, a colorimetric sensing platform for detecting bromide (Br-) in an aqueous medium was developed. The platform is based on the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) properties of Ag nanoprisms with sharp tips. The key to using such Ag nanocrystals with extreme anisotropic structures is to adopt a solid-phase sensing platform. A Ag-nanoprism-embedded tough hydrogel with interpenetrating polymer networks was synthesized via aqueous-phase polymerization and crosslinking processes. The Ag nanoprisms immobilized inside the hydrogel were stable and did not exhibit aggregation or degradation over time; specifically, when the hydrogel was dried, the nanoprisms retained their inherent LSPR properties for an extended period. By taking advantage of the rapid and spontaneous morphological transformation of Ag nanoprisms inside the hybrid hydrogel exposed to Br- and the corresponding changes in their LSPR properties, we designed a plasmonic sensing platform for the sensitive and selective detection of Br- in an aqueous medium. The proposed colorimetric sensing platform was found to exhibit a wide sensing range and high selectivity, with a low limit of detection (LOD) of 10 μM, and offers substantial advantages over previously developed systems; specifically, it is portable, eco-friendly, safe to use and handle, stable for extended periods, and enables naked-eye detection. We believe that the as-proposed sensing platform can be used as a point-of-care analytical tool for detecting Br- in a broad range of samples.

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