Development of a highly efficient gadolinium(III) potentiometric sensor using two aza-crown ether-based multiple diglycolamides (DGAs)

Dharmendra B. Sharma, Bholanath Mahanty*, Prasanta K. Mohapatra, Richard J.M. Egberink, Jurriaan Huskens, Willem Verboom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The present investigation deals with the development of two polyvinyl chloride- (PVC) based potentiometric sensors for gadolinium(III) ion with two multiple diglycolamide (DGA) ligands with the DGA moieties tethered onto aza-crown ethers as ionophores, 2-nitrophenyl octyl ether (NPOE) as the plasticizer and sodium tetraphenylborate (NaTPB) as ionic additive. The ionophores are a tripodal DGA ligand containing a triaza-9-crown-3 core (LI) and a tetrapodal DGA ligand with a tetraaza-12-crown-4 as the scaffold (LII). The polymer inclusion membranes (PIMs) were tested for gadolinium ion detection in a mildly acidic solution (pH 3.0 ± 0.1). The PIM containing an optimized composition of 7.8% LI, 29.6% PVC, 60.5% NPOE, 2.1% NaTPB exhibited a linear response behaviour from 7.2 × 10−7 to 4.9 × 10−3 M Gd3+ with a slope of 19.8 ± 0.4 mV/decade and a limit of detection (LOD) of 6.0 × 10−7 M. The sensor showed fast response time (<20 s) and a lifetime of at least two months. It exhibited good tolerance to monovalent/divalent interfering ions and moderate to poor tolerance to trivalent ions. The effect of temperature on the selectivity coefficient of Gd3+ over La3+ was determined which indicated a decreasing trend with temperature. The concentration of Gd3+ in the inner filling solution (IFS) had a significant effect on the sensor sensitivity and on the detection limit. The other sensor containing LII performs poorly as a potentiometric sensor. The physical characterization of the membranes was done using thermogravimetry (TGA), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and photoluminesce (PL) spectroscopy. A PL study was performed using Eu3+ as a surrogate probe for Gd3+ as the latter ion does not show luminescence properties. The PL spectra suggest the presence of a single analyte ion species in the membrane. The sensor containing LI can be used as an indicator electrode for the potentiometric titration of Gd3+ which indicated a recovery of 94.6 ± 4.3% of Gd3+ for triplicate measurements and the results match well with the complexometric titration result using xylenol orange as a colorimetric indicator for the endpoint detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109323
JournalMicrochemical Journal
Early online date6 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Diglycolamide
  • Gadolinium
  • Membrane
  • Sensor
  • 2023 OA procedure


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