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Oligotriphenylene Nanofiber Sensors for Detection of Nitro-Based Explosives

Authors

  • Yao Zu Liao,

    1. School of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, 516 Jun-Gong Road, Shanghai 200093, P. R. China
    2. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA
    3. College of Materials Science and Engineering and Institute of Materials Chemistry, Tongji University, 1239 Si-Ping Road, Shanghai 200092, P. R. China
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  • Veronica Strong,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA
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  • Yue Wang,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA
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  • Xin-Gui Li,

    Corresponding author
    1. College of Materials Science and Engineering and Institute of Materials Chemistry, Tongji University, 1239 Si-Ping Road, Shanghai 200092, P. R. China
    • Xin-Gui Li, College of Materials Science and Engineering and Institute of Materials Chemistry, Tongji University, 1239 Si-Ping Road, Shanghai 200092, P. R. China

      Xia Wang, School of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, 516 Jun-Gong Road, Shanghai 200093, P. R. China

      Richard B. Kaner, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA.

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  • Xia Wang,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, 516 Jun-Gong Road, Shanghai 200093, P. R. China
    • Xin-Gui Li, College of Materials Science and Engineering and Institute of Materials Chemistry, Tongji University, 1239 Si-Ping Road, Shanghai 200092, P. R. China

      Xia Wang, School of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, 516 Jun-Gong Road, Shanghai 200093, P. R. China

      Richard B. Kaner, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA.

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  • Richard B. Kaner

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA
    • Xin-Gui Li, College of Materials Science and Engineering and Institute of Materials Chemistry, Tongji University, 1239 Si-Ping Road, Shanghai 200092, P. R. China

      Xia Wang, School of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, 516 Jun-Gong Road, Shanghai 200093, P. R. China

      Richard B. Kaner, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA.

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Abstract

Blue light-emitting oligotriphenylene nanofibers are synthesized by oxidizing triphenylene using ferric chloride. By adjusting the monomer concentration, the acid used, and the temperature employed, the average diameter and length of the nanofibers can be readily tuned from 50 to 200 nm and 0.5 to 5 μm, respectively. Structural characterization, electrical conductivity, thermal stability, and fluorescence of oligotriphenylene, along with a proposed nanofiber formation mechanism, are presented. Both oligotriphenylene nanofiber dispersions and oligotriphenylene/polysulfone composite films are developed as fluorescent sensors for detecting traces of nitro-based explosives including nitromethane, nitrobenzene, and 2,4,6-trinitrophenol, as well as an electron-deficient metal ion, Fe(III). The sensors exhibit much better selectivity and sensitivity compared to conventional sensors, with detection limits down to 1.0 nm with a detection range covering ∼4 orders of magnitude. The detection mechanism of the fluorescent sensors is also disscussed.

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