Ultrasensitive detection of toxic cations through changes in the tunnelling current across films of striped nanoparticles

Eun Seon Cho, Jiwon Kim, Baudilio Tejerina, Thomas M. Hermans, Hao Jiang, Hideyuki Nakanishi, Miao Yu, Alexander Z. Patashinski, Sharon C. Glotzer, Francesco Stellacci, Bartosz A. Grzybowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although multiple methods have been developed to detect metal cations, only a few offer sensitivities below 1â €‰pM, and many require complicated procedures and sophisticated equipment. Here, we describe a class of simple solid-state sensors for the ultrasensitive detection of heavy-metal cations (notably, an unprecedented attomolar limit for the detection of CH 3 Hg + in both standardized solutions and environmental samples) through changes in the tunnelling current across films of nanoparticles (NPs) protected with striped monolayers of organic ligands. The sensors are also highly selective because of the ligand-shell organization of the NPs. On binding of metal cations, the electronic structure of the molecular bridges between proximal NPs changes, the tunnelling current increases and highly conductive paths ultimately percolate the entire film. The nanoscale heterogeneity of the structure of the film broadens the range of the cation-binding constants, which leads to wide sensitivity ranges (remarkably, over 18 orders of magnitude in CH 3 Hg + concentration).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-985
Number of pages8
JournalNature Materials
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

Fingerprint

Poisons
Cations
Positive ions
Nanoparticles
cations
nanoparticles
Metals
Ligands
methylidyne
Solid-state sensors
ligands
sensitivity
sensors
heavy metals
Heavy Metals
metals
Heavy metals
Electronic structure
Monolayers
electronic structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)

Cite this

Cho, E. S., Kim, J., Tejerina, B., Hermans, T. M., Jiang, H., Nakanishi, H., ... Grzybowski, B. A. (2012). Ultrasensitive detection of toxic cations through changes in the tunnelling current across films of striped nanoparticles. Nature Materials, 11(11), 978-985. https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3406

Ultrasensitive detection of toxic cations through changes in the tunnelling current across films of striped nanoparticles. / Cho, Eun Seon; Kim, Jiwon; Tejerina, Baudilio; Hermans, Thomas M.; Jiang, Hao; Nakanishi, Hideyuki; Yu, Miao; Patashinski, Alexander Z.; Glotzer, Sharon C.; Stellacci, Francesco; Grzybowski, Bartosz A.

In: Nature Materials, Vol. 11, No. 11, 11.2012, p. 978-985.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cho, ES, Kim, J, Tejerina, B, Hermans, TM, Jiang, H, Nakanishi, H, Yu, M, Patashinski, AZ, Glotzer, SC, Stellacci, F & Grzybowski, BA 2012, 'Ultrasensitive detection of toxic cations through changes in the tunnelling current across films of striped nanoparticles', Nature Materials, vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 978-985. https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3406
Cho, Eun Seon ; Kim, Jiwon ; Tejerina, Baudilio ; Hermans, Thomas M. ; Jiang, Hao ; Nakanishi, Hideyuki ; Yu, Miao ; Patashinski, Alexander Z. ; Glotzer, Sharon C. ; Stellacci, Francesco ; Grzybowski, Bartosz A. / Ultrasensitive detection of toxic cations through changes in the tunnelling current across films of striped nanoparticles. In: Nature Materials. 2012 ; Vol. 11, No. 11. pp. 978-985.
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