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Challenging societal needs involving ions detection: New strategies for the development of voltammetry ion sensors based on thin membranes

MSCA-Individual Fellowships (Agreement Nr 792824)
€ 185 857,20
Starting date: 01.11.2018
Program: H2020-EU.1.3.2. – Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility

The Project

‘Ultrathin membranes are the key element for new ion sensors able to act in real contexts and samples. The VolThinSens project addresses challenging ion analysis cases in pharmaceutical/clinical and environmental domains.’

Modern society is evolving to a scenario in which all daily activities will be monitored using smart sensors. The provision of rapid, reliable and decentralized data is crucial and chemical sensors are current candidates for this purpose. VolThinSens puts forward an innovative sensing strategy from the ground up for reliable detection of ions addressing problems that constitute the bottleneck for the final application of electrochemical sensors in real contexts. VolThinSens will provide robust ion sensors with a wide application perspective within EU priorities such as “citizens’ welfare” and “protecting nature”, among others. VolThinSens will enhance EU excellence and competitiveness in pharmacological/clinical control as well as water issues through the provision of trustable relevant data.

Main Results

Self-Assembled monolayers on glassy carbon electrodes providing effective charge transfer to promote ion-transfer processes across ultra-thin ion-selective membranes

New redox mediator based on ferrocene moieties immobilized on glassy carbon electrodes via self-assembled monolayers. A thin-layer membrane on top facilities ion transfers at the membrane-sample interface that can be tuned according to the membrane composition. The uniqueness of interconnected electron transfer and charge transfer processes for sensing purposes is herein demonstrated.

Understanding the working mechanism behind the sensors developed in the VolThinSens project

As a model example, ITO-POT-membrane electrodes have been investigated by means of spectroelectrochemistry. Conveniently, the absorbance change in the POT film (redox mediator) can be followed at 450 nm in parallel to the voltammetry experiment, so that, the POT oxidation assisting the ion transfer(s) at the membrane-sample interface can be dynamically monitored. Ths work demonstrates the unequivocal interconnection between the electron and ion transfer process (one does not happen without the other). Also, a mathematical model to predict the POT oxidation is developed.

Revising the field of environmental analysis to demonstrate the potential of the VolThinSens project in EU water issues

Investigating the case of the ammonium ion

One of the targets of the VolThinSens project is the ammonium ion. Its detection is challenging because of the limited selectivity that the available ionophores present. Moreover, ammonium detection is challenging because of the different nature of the matrix of the samples in where this cation is present, for example biological fluids and water. The direction should be pursuing new ionophores but also the inclusion of external barriers to the main interferences (i.e., potassium ion).

Anion-exchange membranes are demonstrated to repeal potassium and other cations present in urine so that ammonium cation can be sense to trace the creatinine content

Creatinine is an important biomarker of kidney disease. It is the second biomolecule more analyzed in clinical labs, just after glucose

VolThinSens have investigated several concepts to analyze creatinine in different biological fluids by a smart tuning of the linear range of response according to the expected biolevels. Self-assembled monolayers has an important role in these new analytical concepts.

Main Activities
Invited Talk in the Spanish Embassy
November 2019 (Stockholm)
MSCA Monitoring Visit
November 2018 (KTH)
Workshop in KTH@WOP
April 2019 (KTH)
Early Career Analytical Electrochemistry Prize of the ISE
August 2019 (South Africa)
Invited Keynote, 70th Annual Meeting of the ISE
August 2019 (South Africa)
Oral Presentation
August 2020 (Online)
Talk in the TFK seminar series
June 2020 (KTH-Online)
Talk series at @CrespoLab
March 20210 (KTH-online)
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