Based on the high surface area of nanoparticles and selective affinity for phosphate groups of zirconia, this work reports on the fabrication of nano zirconia modified gold film electrode and evaluation of its electrochemical sensing property toward organophosphate pesticides. A simple sol–gel procedure with oxalic acid as the precipitating reagent was developed to prepare nano zirconia particles. Under optimized experimental condition the average particle size of the fabricated zirconia was 15 nm with a narrow distribution range. Electroless plating was employed to fabricate nanocomposite ZrO2/Au film on alumina substrate. Sensing performance of the film electrode toward parathion as a representative organophosphate pesticide was studied with cyclic voltammetry and square wave voltammetry. Experimental conditions to obtain the best analytical signal were optimized including the doping level of nano ZrO2 in the sensing film. The nano zirconia modified film electrode showed sensitive and selective response toward parathion, and should be suitable for other organophosphate pesticides and their simultaneous detection.
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