Hole doping and surface functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotube chemiresistive sensors for ultrasensitive and highly selective organophosphor vapor detection.

PMID 21934197


We developed a chemiresistive sensor based on doped and functionalized semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) networks for ultrasensitive and rapid detection of dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP) (simulant of nerve agent sarin) vapor. The semiconducting SWNT network was deposited between interdigitated electrodes and modified by solid organic acid tetrafluorohydroquinone (TFQ). The TFQ molecules could not only selectively bind DMMP onto the sidewalls of SWNTs via the strong hydrogen bonding interaction, but also tailor the electronic properties of SWNTs via heavy hole doping. This synergetic effect significantly improved the sensitivity of the devices, and enabled the sensors to easily detect DMMP at 20 parts-per-trillion (ppt) concentration with a response time of less than 2 min, without the need for pre-concentration of the analytes. This sensitivity is about five orders of magnitude higher than that of the unmodified SWNT chemiresistor, and also significantly higher than that of the functionalized SWNT chemiresistors previously reported. Moreover, the SWNT-TFQ sensors could be recovered when DMMP is replaced with referencing gas. The SWNT-TFQ sensors also show excellent selectivity toward DMMP over some interfering organic vapors. The response mechanism, i.e. charge transfer and dedoping was investigated.

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