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Plasticizer-Free Polymer Containing a Covalently Immobilized Ca2+-Selective Ionophore for Potentiometric and Optical Sensors

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Department of Chemistry, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849
Cite this: Anal. Chem. 2003, 75, 13, 3038–3045
Publication Date (Web):May 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003 American Chemical Society

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    A derivative of a known Ca2+-selective ionophore, ETH 129, was synthesized to contain a polymerizable acrylic moiety (AU-1) and covalently grafted into a methyl methacrylate-co-decyl methacrylate polymer matrix. The polymer containing AU-1 was prepared via a simple one-step homogeneous polymerization method. It exhibited mechanical properties suitable for the fabrication of plasticizer-free ion-selective membrane electrodes and bulk optode films by solvent-casting and spin-coating techniques, respectively. The segmented sandwich membrane technique was utilized to assess the binding constant of free and covalently bound ionophores to calcium and to study their diffusion coefficients in the membrane phase. Diffusion was greatly diminished for the bound ionophore. This was confirmed in ion-selective electrode membranes containing no calcium ions in the inner solution, which should normally show apparent super-Nernstian response slopes in dilute calcium solutions. The response slope was Nernstian down to submicromolar concentration levels, indicating slow mass transport of calcium in the membrane. Optical-sensing films with the new copolymer matrix, unblended and blended with PVC−DOS, also confirmed that covalently bound ionophores are fully functional for maintaining selective ion extraction and binding properties of the sensing membrane.

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     Corresponding author. E-mail:  [email protected].

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