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Home Sensors Method for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons detection in environmental waters using langmuir-blodgett preconcentrating

Method for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons detection in environmental waters using Langmuir-Blodgett preconcentrating


The essence of our proposal is the technique for detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the environmental water resources. Certain PAHs belong to the group of the most dangerous ecotoxicants that pollute environmental waters. They are produced in the process of different chemicals manufacturing, operation of heat power plants, combustion engines etc.

The proposed technique is based on the extraction of PAHs from aqueous sample with the organic solvent, their further concentrating and transfer on the surface of transparent electrode of electrochemical cell using Langmuir-Blodgett technique and electrochemiluminescent (ECL) detection of the signal from the film-covered electrode.

Thus the proposed technique combines two main innovative technologies: Langmuir-Blodgett technique of ordered monomolecular organic films deposition and extremely sensitive electrochemiluminescent detection of the optical signal that is proportional to the amount of PAHs in the analyzed water sample.

The ECL assay method possesses:
i) high sensitivity due to optical detection of analytical signal that allows reaching single-photon detection limit and thus detection of trace amounts of analytes;
ii) high selectivity of the assay due to two-channel registration mode, i.e. simultaneous recording of electrochemical and optical (ECL) signals.

The nanotechnology approach that is used for formation of thin films containing analyzed PAHs and their further deposition onto working electrodes of the ECL cell is Langmuir-Blodgett technology. It allows formation of uniform ordered monomolecular films with highly controllable predefined structure.

Innovative Aspect and Main Advantages

Innovative aspect of the proposed technology consists in combining analytical capabilities of liquid-phase ECL and Langmuir-Blodgett technique for thin ordered layers formation and deposition onto the electrodes. This makes it possible to increase sufficiently analyte concentration in the ordered monomolecular film, thus making its detection very sensitive that is important for ecological applications.

Main advantages of the developed sensor are:

  • low limit of detection (≤ 1 nmole/liter);
  • rather fast and simple assay protocol and sample prepa-ration;
  • wide linear detection range 10-9 ÷ 10-4 mole/l;
  • low assay cost;
  • most of the assay steps can be fully automated.

It is competitive with known analytical technologies for bioliquids assay such as fluorescent, electrochemical etc.

Areas of Application

The developed technique of PAHs extraction and detection can be used for ECL assay of aqueous mediums. In particular it can be applied in environmental assay. Other application areas can include pharmaceutical and food products assays.

Fig. 1 ECL cell with the transparent ITO working electrode covered by the Langmuir-Blodgett film of PAHs

Stage of Development

Development phase – laboratory tested assay protocols are available.

Contact Details

Mykola Rozhitskii, Professor, Dr. of Phys.-Math Sci., Yuriy Zholudov - PhD, Senior researcher, Olga Sushko - PhD student, Olena Bilash - Senior researcher.
Organization: Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics, Bio-medical Electronics Dep., Laboratory of Analytical Opto-chemotronics
Address: Ukraine, 61166, Kharkiv, 14, Lenin Ave.
+380 57 7020-369
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