Journal: Chemical Communications
Affiliations: 8Go to article
Spotting hazardous vapours in the air
© Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Moment/Getty
A new type of chemical sensor changes colour in the presence of volatile vapours, offering a way of monitoring for contaminants and hazardous chemicals in the environment before they can cause harm.
A University of Tsukuba–led team created thin films of a porous, treelike polymer that, with its branched tendrils, absorbs and captures molecules of gaseous, evaporated solvents. Within a couple seconds of solvent exposure, the fluorescent colour and intensity of the film changes, offering a visual signal that’s easy to interpret with the naked eye.
The colour reflects the chemical polarity of the solvent, so a single film can distinguish between numerous types of hazardous agents. Plus, the film returns to its original colour after the solvent vapor is removed — which means the sensor could be reused many times for environmental monitoring.
- Chemical Communications 54, 2534–2537 (2018). doi: 10.1039/C7CC09342J