Gas phase sensing of alcohols by Metal Organic Framework – polymer composite materials

Sumit Sachdeva, Sander J.H. Koper, Anahid Sabetghadam, Dimitri Soccol, Dirk J. Gravesteijn, Freek Kapteijn, Ernst J.R. Sudhölter, Jorge Gascon, Louis C.P.M. de Smet

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    Affinity layers play a crucial role in chemical sensors for the selective and sensitive detection of analytes. Here, we report the use of composite affinity layers containing Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) in a polymeric matrix for sensing purposes. Nanoparticles of NH2-MIL-53(Al) were dispersed in a Matrimid polymer matrix with different weight ratios (0–100 wt %) and drop-casted on planar capacitive transducer devices. These coated devices were electrically analyzed using impedance spectroscopy and investigated for their sensing properties toward the detection of a series of alcohols and water in the gas phase. The measurements indicated a reversible and reproducible response in all devices. Sensor devices containing 40 wt % NH2-MIL-53(Al) in Matrimid showed a maximum response for methanol and water. The sensor response time slowed down with increasing MOF concentration until 40 wt %. The half time of saturation response (τ0.5) increased by ∼1.75 times for the 40 wt % composition compared to devices coated with Matrimid only. This is attributed to polymer rigidification near the MOF/polymer interface. Higher MOF loadings (≥50 wt %) resulted in brittle coatings with a response similar to the 100 wt % MOF coating. Cross-sensitivity studies showed the ability to kinetically distinguish between the different alcohols with a faster response for methanol and water compared to ethanol and 2-propanol. The observed higher affinity of the pure Matrimid polymer toward methanol compared to water allows also for a higher uptake of methanol in the composite matrices. Also, as indicated by the sensing studies with a mixture of water and methanol, the methanol uptake is independent of the presence of water up to 6000 ppm of water. The NH2-MIL-53(Al) MOFs dispersed in the Matrimid matrix show a sensitive and reversible capacitive response, even in the presence of water. By tuning the precise compositions, the affinity kinetics and overall affinity can be tuned, showing the promise of this type of chemical sensors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24926–24935
    Number of pages10
    JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
    Issue number29
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2017


    • Capacitive detection
    • Composites
    • Gas sensors
    • Impedance spectroscopy
    • Metal organic frameworks
    • Mixed matrix membranes


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