Development of calix[4]arene-functionalized microcantilever array sensing system for the rapid, sensitive and simultaneous detection of metal ions in aqueous solutions

Alodhayb, Abdullah (2016) Development of calix[4]arene-functionalized microcantilever array sensing system for the rapid, sensitive and simultaneous detection of metal ions in aqueous solutions. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The work described in this thesis was conducted with the aim of: 1) investigating the binding capabilities of calix[4]arene-functionalized microcantilevers towards specific metal ions and 2) developing a new16-microcantilever array sensing system for the rapid, and simultaneous detection of metal ions in fresh water. Part I of this thesis reports on the use of three new bimodal calix[4]arenes (methoxy, ethoxy and crown) as potential host/guest sensing layers for detecting selected ions in dilute aqueous solutions using single microcantilever experimental system. In this work it was shown that modifying the upper rim of the calix[4]arenes with a thioacetate end group allow calix[4]arenes to self-assemble on Au(111) forming complete highly ordered monolayers. It was also found that incubating the microcantilevers coated with 5 nm of Inconel and 40 nm of Au for 1 h in a 1.0 M solution of calix[4]arene produced the highest sensitivity. Methoxy-functionalized microcantilevers showed a definite preference for Ca²⁺ ions over other cationic guests and were able to detect trace concentration as low as 10⁻¹² M in aqueous solutions. Microcantilevers modified with ethoxy calix[4]arene displayed their highest sensitivity towards Sr²⁺ and to a lesser extent Ca²⁺ ions. Crown calix[4]arene-modified microcantilevers were however found to bind selectively towards Cs⁺ ions. In addition, the counter anion was also found to contribute to the deflection. For example methoxy calix[4]arene-modified microcantilever was found to be more sensitive to CaCl₂ over other water-soluble calcium salts such as Ca(NO₃)₂ , CaBr₂ and CaI₂. These findings suggest that the response of calix[4]arene-modified microcantilevers should be attributed to the target ionic species as a whole instead of only considering the specific cation and/or anion. Part II presents the development of a 16-microcantilever sensor setup. The implementation of this system involved the creation of data analysis software that incorporates data from the motorized actuator and a two-axis photosensitive detector to obtain the deflection signal originating from each individual microcantilever in the array. The system was shown to be capable of simultaneous measurements of multiple microcantilevers with different coatings. A functionalization unit was also developed that allows four microcantilevers in the array to be coated with an individual sensing layer one at the time. Because of the variability of the spring constants of different cantilevers within the array, results presented were quoted in units of surface stress unit in order to compare values between the microcantilevers in the array.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 11870
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 191-210).
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Physics and Physical Oceanography
Date: March 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Calixarenes--Properties; Metal ions--Testing; Chemical detectors; Monomolecular films

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