Chemosensors 2014, 2(1), 26-40; doi:10.3390/chemosensors2010026
Communication

Selectivity of Chemoresistive Sensors Made of Chemically Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Random Networks for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

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Received: 11 October 2013; in revised form: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 3 January 2014 / Published: 15 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanosensors)
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Abstract: Different grades of chemically functionalized carbon nanotubes (CNT) have been processed by spraying layer-by-layer (sLbL) to obtain an array of chemoresistive transducers for volatile organic compound (VOC) detection. The sLbL process led to random networks of CNT less conductive, but more sensitive to vapors than filtration under vacuum (bucky papers). Shorter CNT were also found to be more sensitive due to the less entangled and more easily disconnectable conducting networks they are making. Chemical functionalization of the CNT’ surface is changing their selectivity towards VOC, which makes it possible to easily discriminate methanol, chloroform and tetrahydrofuran (THF) from toluene vapors after the assembly of CNT transducers into an array to make an e-nose. Interestingly, the amplitude of the CNT transducers’ responses can be enhanced by a factor of five (methanol) to 100 (chloroform) by dispersing them into a polymer matrix, such as poly(styrene) (PS), poly(carbonate) (PC) or poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). COOH functionalization of CNT was found to penalize their dispersion in polymers and to decrease the sensors’ sensitivity. The resulting conductive polymer nanocomposites (CPCs) not only allow for a more easy tuning of the sensors’ selectivity by changing the chemical nature of the matrix, but they also allow them to adjust their sensitivity by changing the average gap between CNT (acting on quantum tunneling in the CNT network). Quantum resistive sensors (QRSs) appear promising for environmental monitoring and anticipated disease diagnostics that are both based on VOC analysis.
Keywords: carbon nanotubes; conductive polymer nanocomposites; e-nose; chemical functionalization; volatile organic compounds; selectivity; sensitivity; detection; spraying layer-by-layer
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Feller, J.-F.; Gatt, N.; Kumar, B.; Castro, M. Selectivity of Chemoresistive Sensors Made of Chemically Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Random Networks for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Chemosensors 2014, 2, 26-40.

AMA Style

Feller J-F, Gatt N, Kumar B, Castro M. Selectivity of Chemoresistive Sensors Made of Chemically Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Random Networks for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Chemosensors. 2014; 2(1):26-40.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Feller, Jean-François; Gatt, Nicolas; Kumar, Bijandra; Castro, Mickaël. 2014. "Selectivity of Chemoresistive Sensors Made of Chemically Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Random Networks for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)." Chemosensors 2, no. 1: 26-40.

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