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Templated Crosslinked Imidazolyl Acrylate for Electronic Detection of Nitroaromatic Explosives

Authors

  • Hoyoul Kong,

    1. Johns Hopkins University, Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and of Chemistry, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), Ulsan 681-802, Republic of Korea
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  • Jasmine Sinha,

    1. Johns Hopkins University, Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and of Chemistry, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
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  • Jia Sun,

    1. Johns Hopkins University, Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and of Chemistry, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
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  • Howard E. Katz

    Corresponding author
    1. Johns Hopkins University, Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and of Chemistry, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
    • Johns Hopkins University, Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and of Chemistry, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.
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Abstract

A low-voltage operable, highly sensitive, and selectively responsive polymer for the detection of nitroaromatic explosives is investigated. Resistive devices are fabricated by simple spin-coating on flexible and transparent substrates in addition to silicon substrates and are stable under ambient temperature and oxygen levels before exposure to the nitroaromatics. After exposure to 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), the devices show increased conductance, even with picogram (pg) quantities of TNT, accompanied by a confirming color change from colorless to deep red. The relative conductance increase per unit exposure is the highest yet reported for TNT. Aromatic anion salts, on the other hand, do not induce any electronic responses. 1H NMR and microscopic analyses show chemical interactions and morphological changes correlated with the electronic responses, some of which are specific to TNT in relation to other nitroaromatics. The binding constant for the imidazole rings and TNT is on the order of tens of M−1. The materials are promising for rapid indication of exposure to nitroaromatic compounds.

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