Development and characterization of sensing layers based on molecularly imprinted conducting polymers for the electrochemical and gravimetrical detection of small organic molecules

Abstract : In the field of chemical and biological sensors, the increased need for better sensitivity, faster response and higher selectivity during an analysis process, requires the development of more and more efficient transducing sensing layers. In this context, and with the aim to detect small non-electroactive molecules, such as atrazine (ATZ), we designed, characterized and developed sensing layers constituted by functionalized Molecularly Imprinted Conducting Polymers (MICP) and we integrated them into electrochemical and gravimetrical sensors. Starting from acetonitrile pre-polymerization media containing ATZ as template molecules in the presence of thiophene-based functional monomers (FM, namely TMA, TAA, EDOT, TMeOH or Th), differently functionalized and structurally different polythiophene-based FM-MICP films were electrosynthesized onto gold substrates and used for ATZ detection. The sensing properties of FM-MICP layers were shown to result from the presence in their backbones of pre-shaped FM-functionalized imprinted cavities which keep the memory of the targets. Nevertheless, non-specific adsorption onto the surface of the sensing layers takes place systematically, which affects the selectivity of the recognition process. Thanks to surface characterization techniques, we highlighted the influence of the thickness and of the structural properties of the layers on the efficiency of the recognition process. Besides, this latter was shown to operate in the bulk of the polymer matrixes thanks to layers porosity. On another hand, electrochemical measurements correlated with semi-empirical calculations demonstrated the influence of the nature of FM on the strength of the ATZ-FM interaction in the pre-polymerization medium, and then on the number of ATZ molecular imprints and on the sensitivity towards ATZ of the FM-MICP layers. We showed that TAA-MICP, which presents a low limit of detection (10-9 mol L-1) and a large dynamic range (10-8 to 10-4 mol L-1), is the best sensing layer since it offers the best compromise between high level of specific detection of ATZ and low level of non-specific adsorption. Finally, TAA-MICP was used as sensitive layer in an original Electrochemical Surface Acoustic Wave sensor (ESAW) which enabled simultaneous coupled gravimetric and electrochemical measurements.
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Youssef Lattach. Development and characterization of sensing layers based on molecularly imprinted conducting polymers for the electrochemical and gravimetrical detection of small organic molecules. Other. Conservatoire national des arts et metiers - CNAM, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 2011CNAM0783⟩. ⟨tel-00699628⟩

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