Composites of ion-in-conjugation polysquaraine and SWCNTs for the detection of H2S and NH3 at ppb concentrations
Several different methods are established for the analysis of gases, including optical spectroscopy, photoacoustic spectroscopy as well as colorimetric and resistive sensing, the measurements systems are either too complex or have limited sensitivity. In particular, when the goal is to apply a large number of sensors in networks, it is highly desirable to have devices that are simple, have low cost and energy consumption, yet sensitive and selective to monitor analytes even in traces. Herein, we propose a new type of resistive sensor device based on a composite of single-wall carbon nanotubes and an ion-in-conjugation polymer, poly(1,5-diaminonaphthalene-squaraine), capable of detecting H2S and NH3 in air even at room temperature with a theoretical concentration limit of ∼1 ppb and ∼7 ppb, respectively. Density functional theory calculations revealed that H atoms of the analytes and O atoms of the polymer chain interact and form hydrogen bonds, and the electron withdrawal from the gas molecules by the polymer chain results in the change of its electrical conductivity. To demonstrate the feasibility of the new nanocomposites in sensing, we show the devices for monitoring food safety with good sensor stability of operation for at least 3 months of period of time.