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Potentiometric Sensors Based on Fluorous Membranes Doped with Highly Selective Ionophores for Carbonate

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Department of Chemistry, University of Minnesota, 207 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis Minnesota 55455, United States
Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, PO Box 30012, College Station, Texas 77842, United States
§ CNR-Istituto di Scienze Tecnologie Molecolari, via Golgi 19, 20133, Milano, Italy
Cite this: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 51, 20869–20877
Publication Date (Web):November 9, 2011
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society

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Manganese(III) complexes of three fluorophilic salen derivatives were used to prepare ion-selective electrodes (ISEs) with ionophore-doped fluorous sensing membranes. Because of their extremely low polarity and polarizability, fluorous media are not only chemically very inert but also solvate potentially interfering ions poorly, resulting in a much improved discrimination of such ions. Indeed, the new ISEs exhibited selectivities for CO32– that exceed those of previously reported ISEs based on nonfluorous membranes by several orders of magnitude. In particular, the interference from chloride and salicylate was reduced by 2 and 6 orders of magnitude, respectively. To achieve this, the selectivities of these ISEs were fine-tuned by addition of noncoordinating hydrophobic ions (i.e., ionic sites) into the sensing membranes. Stability constants of the anion–ionophore complexes were determined from the dependence of the potentiometric selectivities on the charge sign of the ionic sites and the molar ratio of ionic sites and the ionophore. For this purpose, a previously introduced fluorophilic tetraphenylborate and a novel fluorophilic cation with a bis(triphenylphosphoranylidene)ammonium group, (Rf6(CH2)3)3PN+P(Rf6(CH2)3)3, were utilized (where Rf6 is C6F13). The optimum CO32– selectivities were found for sensing membranes composed of anionic sites and ionophore in a 1:4 molar ratio, which results in the formation of 2:1 complexes with CO32– with stability constants up to 4.1 × 1015. As predicted by established theory, the site-to-ionophore ratios that provide optimum potentiometric selectivity depend on the stoichiometries of the complexes of both the primary and the interfering ions. However, the ionophores used in this study give examples of charges and stoichiometries previously neither explicitly predicted by theory nor shown by experiment. The exceptional selectivity of fluorous membranes doped with these carbonate ionophores suggests their use not only for potentiometric sensing but also for other types of sensors, such as the selective separation of carbonate from other anions and the sequestration of carbon dioxide.

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Figures, tables, and text giving (1) the MALDI-TOF mass spectrum of fluorophilic salt 1, (2) selectivity coefficients of electrodes based on membranes with optimum molar ratios of ionic sites and the ionophores Mn-1 and Mn-2, (3) selectivity coefficients over BPh4 for ion exchanger electrodes and electrodes containing ionophores Mn-1, Mn-2, and Mn-3 and ionic sites in different molar ratios, (4) derivation of equations needed for determination of binding constants, and (5) a detailed description of super-Nernstian responses exhibited by the membranes with a 1:4 ratio of anionic sites and ionophore. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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