Rational design of a material for rapid colorimetric Fe2+ detection

We report on the rational design of a novel TiO2 based screen-printed material suitable for sensitive and selective detection of iron ions in water. This includes the synthesis and characterization of large mesoporous TiO2 nanostructures, screen-printing of thick titania films on glass surfaces and their functionalization with 2,2′:6′,2″-terpyridin-4′-ylphosphonic acid (terpy). The ultra-high affinity between iron ions and the TiO2-anchored terpy receptor makes this system potentially applicable to the analysis of iron in environmental, food, biological, and biomedical systems by a readily quantifiable colour change. Rapid (< 30 s) colour change of the material from white to magenta permits easy detection of as low as 0.3 ppm of Fe2 + by the naked eye. The intensity of the colour change depends on the nature of the nanoparticles, the overall TiO2 film thickness, and the Fe2 + concentration. The material was characterized using profilometry, diffuse reflectance UV–vis spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) before and after treatment with aqueous solutions of Fe2 +. The designed material shows colour reversibility upon treatment with EDTA solutions, which allows for multiple reuses of the same film with no effect on sensitivity.
TiO2, Screen-printed films, Terpy, Iron detection
Laschuk, N., Ebralidze, I., Quaranta, S., Kerr, S., Egan, J., Gillis, S., . . . Zenkina, O. (2016). Rational design of a material for rapid colorimetric Fe2+ detection. Materials & Design, 107, 18-25. doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2016.06.016