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A major challenge in the development of chemical sensors for volatile organic compounds (VOC) has been finding sensitive films, which selectively partition different volatile organics. This work presents a selectivity enhancement strategy using carefully chosen peptides to preferentially interact with different VOCs based on the polarity of the analytes. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) grown at low-temperature are used as a scaffold for the peptides. The CNTs are grown on top of mass-sensitive cantilever-based sensors and provide a large surface area for peptide binding, thus helping to increase the sensitivity of the sensors. Tests show that the peptides do in fact interact differently with VOCs based on the polarity of the compound. Achieved detection limits are in the low parts-per-million range.
Date of Conference: 23-27 Jan. 2011