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Ionophore-based quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) ammonium ion sensors with a detection limit for ammonium ion concentrations as low as 2.2 μM were fabricated. Ionophores are molecules, which selectively bind a particular ion. In this study, one of the known ionophores for
ammonium, nonactin, was used to detect ammonium ions for environmental in-situ monitoring of aquarium water for the first time. To fabricate the sensing films, poly(vinyl chloride) was used as the matrix for the immobilization of nonactin. Furthermore, the anionic additive, tetrakis
(4-chlorophenyl) borate potassium salt and the plasticizer dioctyl sebacate were used to enhance the sensor properties. The sensor allowed detecting ammonium ions not only in static solution, but also in flowing water. The sensor showed a nearly linear response with the increase of the ammonium
ion concentration. The QCM resonance frequency increased with the increase of ammonium ion concentration, suggesting a decreasing weight of the sensing film. The detailed response mechanism could not be verified yet. However, from the results obtained when using a different plasticizer, nitrophenyl
octyl ether, it is considered that this effect is caused by the release of water molecules. Consequently, the newly fabricated sensor detects ammonium ions by discharge of water. It shows high selectivity over potassium and sodium ions. We conclude that the newly fabricated sensor can be applied
for detecting ammonium ions in aquarium water, since it allows measuring low ammonium ion concentrations. This sensor will be usable for water quality monitoring and controlling.
Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.