Electrofluorochromic detection of cyanide anion using a nanoporous polymer electrode and the detection mechanism
Date of Issue2014
School of Materials Science and Engineering
An electrofluorochromic (EFC) conjugated copolymer (PEFC) containing carbazole and benzothiadiazole (BTD) moieties is synthesized through Suzuki coupling followed by electrochemical polymerization, resulting in a nanoporous EFC polymer electrode. The electrode exhibits high sensitivity and selectivity in the EFC detection of cyanide anions (CN−) in largely aqueous electrolyte (67 vol % water) because electrochemical oxidation of PEFC leads to significant fluorescence quenching, and the presence of different concentrations (1 to 100 μm) of CN− in the electrolyte can weaken the oxidative quenching to substantially different extents. Although PEFC is hydrophobic in the neutral state, it is converted to radical cation/dication states upon oxidation, rendering the PEFC some hydrophilicity. Moreover, its nanoporous morphology provides a large surface area and short diffusion distance, facilitating the movement of CN− in the electrolyte into the PEFC film to interact with receptors. Density functional theory calculations show that the noncovalent interaction between electron-deficient BTD and nucleophilic CN− is energy favorable in the oxidized states in both aqueous and organic media, suggesting that the specific π−–π+ interaction plays the main role in the CN− detection.
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