Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Initial Investigations into the Synthesis and Elect rochemical Polymerization of Thiophene- Based Molecular-Imprinted Polymers for use as Benzene Sensor Electrodes

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Don L. Warner


Benzene is a toxic and carcinogenic environmental pollutant that is a common product of industrial waste. Possible chemical sensors for such contaminants include molecular imprinted polymers (MIPs). These are formed by the electropolymerization of monomers onto a metal surface, creating shape- and electrostatic-specific chemical pockets that attract the molecule of interest. When an electric potential is applied to the MIP in the presence of that molecule, a current is induced that correlates to pollutant concentration. The goal of this project is to synthesize and optimize an MIP that can detect and quantify benzene in natural samples. Various thiophene-based monomers containing a benzene template are being or have been synthesized, each corresponding to a separate future MIP that will differ in terms of conjugation and the size and electrostatic characteristics of the binding site. The sensitivity/selectivity of these MIPs will determine the best monomer and, ultimately, the optimal sensor design.