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Anal Chem. 2001 Dec 15;73(24):6083-7.

Monodisperse plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) fluorescent microspheres for selective ionophore-based sensing and extraction.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Auburn University, Alabama 36849, USA.


A convenient method for the preparation of monodisperse, plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) particles based on an automated particle casting technique is described. The particles are made highly selective for a number of ions by doping them with ionophores and other active components, in complete analogy to thin-film or fiber-optic chemical sensors. The approach used here produces spheres of high monodispersity at a rate of approximately 20000 particles/s. The casting process is based on a reproducible polymer drop formation and precipitation process, and the particles are formed under very mild, nonreactive conditions. This allows one to conveniently incorporate known amounts of different active components into the polymers. As an initial example, the particles are doped with three optical sensing components, the sodium ionophore tert-butylcalix[4]arene tetraethyl ester, the H+-chromoionophore ETH 5294, and the anionic additive sodium tetrakis[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl] borate. The particles are found to be of spherical shape with a diameter of approximately 10 microm. They respond individually and selectively to sodium according to classical optode theory, as determined by fluorescence microscopy. With a RSD of 1.6%, sensing reproducibility from particle to particle is excellent. This technique may allow the development of mass-produced chemically selective microspheres on the basis of bulk extraction processes.

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