This research paper presents a new application of electroactive polyimide doped with gold nanoparticles (PI/AuNPs) as a chemiresistor sensor for detecting hydrogen sulfide gas. The synthesis of PI/AuNPs was done in a simple 3-step process of polymerization using the as prepared amine-capped aniline trimer (ACAT), followed by imidization, and doping. Spectral analyses via FTIR, LC-MS and 1H-NMR confirmed the formation of amine-capped aniline trimer with a MW of 288 g mol−1. Comparison of ACAT, BSAA, and PI FTIR spectra showed successful polymerization of the last, while XRD validated the incorporation of metal nanoparticles onto the polymer matrix, showing characteristic diffraction peaks corresponding to gold. Furthermore, TEM, and FE-SEM revealed the presence of well-dispersed Au nanoparticles with an average diameter of about 60 nm. The electroactive PI/AuNPs-based sensor showed a sensitivity of 0.29% ppm−1 H2S at a linear concentration range of 50 to 300 ppm H2S (r = 0.9777). The theoretical limit of detection was found at 0.142 ppm or 142 ppb H2S gas. The sensor provided a stable response reading at an average response time of 43 ± 5 s, which was easily recovered after an average time of 99 ± 5 s. The sensor response was highly repeatable and reversible, with RSD values of 8.88%, and 8.60%, respectively. Compared with the performance of the conventional conducting polyaniline also doped with gold nanoparticles (PANI/AuNPs), the fabricated electroactive PI/AuNPs exhibited improved sensing performance making it a potential candidate in monitoring H2S in the environment and for work-related safety.
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