Selective sensing of volatile organic compounds using novel conducting polymer–metal nanoparticle hybrids Academic Article uri icon


  • Conducting polymer-metal nanoparticle hybrids, fabricated by assembling metal nanoparticles on top of functionalized conducting polymer film surfaces using conjugated linker molecules, enable the selective sensing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In these conducting polymer-metal nanoparticle hybrids, selectivity is achieved by assembling different metals on the same conducting polymer film. This eliminates the need to develop either different polymers chemistries or device configurations for each specific analyte. In the hybrids, chemisorption of the analyte vapor induces charge redistribution in the metal nanoparticles and changes their work function. The conjugated linker molecule causes this change in the work function of the tethered nanoparticles to affect the electronic states in the underlying conducting polymer film. The result is an easily measurable change in the resistance of the hybrid structure. The fabrication of these sensing elements involved the covalent assembly of nickel (Ni) and palladium (Pd) metal nanoparticles on top of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene-co-thiophene-3-acetic acid), poly(EDOT-co-TAA), films using 4-aminothiophenol linker molecules. The change in resistance of hybrid Pd/poly(EDOT-co-TAA) and Ni/poly(EDOT-co-TAA) hybrid films to acetone and toluene, respectively, is observed to be in proportion to their concentrations. The projected detection limits are 2 and 10 ppm for toluene and acetone, respectively. A negligible response (resistance change) of the Pd/poly(EDOT-co-TAA) films to toluene exposure confirmed its selectivity for detecting acetone. Similarly, lack of response to acetone confirmed the selectivity of the Ni/poly(EDOT-co-TAA) stacks for detecting toluene. It is anticipated that the assembly of other metals such as Ag, Au and Cu on top of poly(EDOT-co-TAA) would provide selectivity for detecting and discriminating other VOCs.

author list (cited authors)

  • Vaddiraju, S., & Gleason, K. K.

citation count

  • 39

publication date

  • March 2010