Graphene Oxide-Poly(dimethylsiloxane)-Based Lab-on-a-Chip Platform for Heavy-Metals Preconcentration and Electrochemical Detection

Andrzej Chalupniak, Arben Merkoçi. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Herein, we present the application of a novel graphene oxide-poly(dimethylsiloxane) (GO-PDMS) composite in reversible adsorption/desorption, including detection of heavy metals. GO-PDMS was fabricated by simple blending of GO with silicon monomer in the presence of tetrahydrofuran, followed by polymerization initiated upon the addition of curing agent. We found GO concentration, curing agent concentration, pH, and contact time among the most important factors affecting the adsorption of Pb(II) used as a model heavy metal. The mechanism of adsorption is based on surface complexation, where oxygen active groups of negative charge can bind with bivalent metal ions Me(II). To demonstrate a practical application of this material, we fabricated microfluidic lab-on-a-chip platform for heavy-metals preconcentration and detection. This device consists of a screen-printed carbon electrode, a PDMS chip, and a GO-PDMS chip. The use of GO-PDMS preconcentration platform significantly improves the sensitivity of electrochemical detection of heavy metals (an increase of current up to 30× was observed), without the need of modifying electrodes or special reagents addition. Therefore, samples being so far below the limit of detection (0.5 ppb) were successfully detected. This approach is compatible also with real samples (seawater) as ionic strength was found as indifferent for the adsorption process. To the best of our knowledge, GO-PDMS was used for the first time in sensing application. Moreover, due to mechanical resistance and outstanding durability, it can be used multiple times unlike other GO-based platforms for heavy-metals adsorption.

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