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Development and Application of Vibrational Chemical Sensing Systems Based on Modifications of Nano-Structural Materials
Vibrational spectroscopic sensors provide not only abundant chemical information butalso several unique properties such as speeds and simplicity in detections. Although ourprevious studies indicated that the sensitivities in detection of organic compounds byvibrational spectroscopic methods can be improved by treatment of hydrophobic materialson the surface of sensing elements, there is still plenty of room for improvements. One of thedirections is utilizing nano-structural metallic materials to replace the hydrophobic materials.Based on our initial studies, the treatment of silver nanoparticles on sensing elements canimprove the detection and the limits of detection can be as low as 100 ng/cm2. Therefore, inthis proposal, we focus on development of suitable nano-structural materials for surfacemodification of sensing elements.Two spectroscopic methods, infrared and Raman spectroscopy, are selected in thiswork due to both methods are capable in obtaining vibrational spectra. To properly utilizethe properties of nano-structural materials, we divide our work into three parts. In the firstpart of work, new methods to prepare nano-metallic or nano-metallic oxides directly on thesurface of sensing elements are focused. The effect of surface enhancement on the analyticalsignals will be examined and used as an indicator to optimize the morphologies of thenano-materials and their reaction formula. Metals of Ag, Au, Pd, Pt, and Cu will be selectedas the modification materials. Infrared transparent materials of Ge, ZnSe, AgX, and Si willselected as sensing element to grow nano-metals on their surfaces directly. For Ramansystems, materials of glass, polymers, and metal plates of Cu, Al, Ni, and Zn will be addedinto the systems. Electroless deposition method and electroless plating method are selectedin this work due to they are simple in use and ease in controlling the morphologies of theformed nano-metals through varying the reaction conditions or formula in the reactions. Inthe second part of work, the molecules for further modification of the surfaces of thenano-metallic or nano-metallic oxides will be synthesized and characterize theirperformances in selective detection of targeted compounds. Also, their capabilities inattracting the targeted compounds will be also examined. Molecules that capable to formstable complexes with targeted compounds are considered. For instance, the structuralanalogs of ethylene diamine tetra acetic acids (EDTA), amino acids, compounds withcavities will be first focused. In order to immobilize these compounds to metallicnanomaterials, these molecules will be thiolated in order to react with metals throughmetal-S bonds. In the third part of work, optical systems will be developed to pick upanalytical signals from a fiber-type of sensing system and optical sensing chips. Thesesystems should be portable and ease in use. To accomplish these goals, hand-held sizeinstruments (monochromator and interferometer) will be used to develop fiber probe into aportable sensing system. Also, IR imager will be used to develop a sensing chip reader.
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