A novel sensor array using seven room-temperature ionic liquids (ILs) as sensing materials and a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) as a transducer was developed for the detection of organic vapors at ambient and elevated temperatures. Ethanol, dichloromethane, benzene, and heptane were selected as representative gas analytes for various kinds of environmental pollutants and common industrial solvents. The QCM/IL sensors responded proportionately and reversibly to the organic vapor concentrations (i.e., ethanol, heptane, and benzene) in the gas phase from 0 to 100% saturation at room and elevated temperatures (e.g., 120 °C) but deviated from this linear relationship at high concentrations for dichloromethane, a highly volatile compound. Linear discriminant analysis was used to analyze the sensing patterns. Excellent classifications were obtained for both known and unknown concentrations of vapor samples. The correct classifications were 100% for known concentration samples and 96% for samples with unknown concentrations. Thermodynamics and ATR-FT-IR studies were conducted to understand specific molecular interactions, the strength of the interaction between ILs and organic vapors, and the degree of ordering that takes place upon dissolution of the vapors in ILs. The different response intensity of the QCM/IL sensors to the organic vapors depends on the different solubilities of organic vapors in ILs and varying molecular/ion interactions between each organic vapor and IL. The diverse set of IL studied showed selective responses due to structural differences. Therefore, a sensor array of ILs would be able to effectively differentiate different vapors in pattern recognitions, facilitating discrimination by their distinctive patterns in response to organic vapors in both room and high temperatures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry