Molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles for formaldehyde sensing with QCM

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© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Herein, we report on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for detecting formaldehyde vapors in air streams. A copolymer thin film consisting of styrene, methacrylic acid, and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate on quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) yielded a detection limit of 500 ppb formaldehyde in dry air. Surprisingly, these MIPs showed specific behavior when tested against a range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as acetaldehyde, methanol, formic acid, and dichloromethane. Despite thus being a suitable receptor in principle, the MIPs were not useful for measurements at 50% humidity due to surface saturation by water. This was overcome by introducing primary amino groups into the polymer via allyl amine and by changing the coating morphology from thin film to nanoparticles. This led to the same limit of detection (500 ppb) and selectivity as before, but at the real-life conditions of 50% relative humidity.




Hussain, M., Kotova, K., & Lieberzeit, P. A. (2016). Molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles for formaldehyde sensing with QCM. Sensors (Switzerland), 16(7).

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