Achieving Simplified and Tunable Flexibility in Carborane-Based Emitters

Article

This study presents a novel approach to achieving simplified and tunable flexibility in carborane-based emitters for quantitative vapochromic VOC sensing, which could be used to monitor air quality and volatile organic compounds.

Recently, a new method for detecting air pollutants using photoluminescence (PL) sensors was developed (1). The researchers synthesized three emissive dibenzothiophene (DBT)-alkynylated carboranes (Cb-1/2/3) and found that Cb-3 was able to contribute green and green–yellow emission in the crystals, as well as yellow and orange emission in the volatile organic compound (VOC)-incorporated films (1). Additionally, the researchers introduced DBT-alkynylated carboranes to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and established linear relationships between the photon energy at the PL maxima and the concentrations of benzene and tetrahydrofuran (THF) vapors (1).

Environmental pollution | Image Credit: © hramovnick - stock.adobe.com

Environmental pollution | Image Credit: © hramovnick - stock.adobe.com

Quantitative PL sensing of VOCs has been challenging in the past. Previous methods have normally retained multiple sites that are responsive to VOC stimulation (1). However, the researchers in this study proposed a dimeric model of Cb-based emitters to combat this challenge (1). Theoretical calculations verified the thermodynamic stability of Cb-3 dimers and suggested that DBT could individually rotate different angles under the simulation of VOCs, providing simplified and tunable flexibility in the PL sensors (1).

The researchers highlighted the fast response (6 s) and recovery (3∼5 s) of the method (1). They also found that the method had good reusability in the sensing of THF vapors (1). These abovementioned properties make the developed sensor potentially market competitive and reliable, especially when they are compared to other sensors. The proposed dimeric model of carborane-based emitters with simplified and tunable flexibility presents a new strategy for the design of effective and quantitative photoluminescence sensors for the detection of volatile organic compounds (1). Environmental monitoring and quality control applications would benefit from the findings of this study. The research team is currently working to expand the range of VOCs detectable by the developed sensor and optimize its performance further (1).

According to the researchers, this method could potentially be used in real-time monitoring of air quality and volatile organic compounds in various settings, such as industrial environments, laboratories, and homes (1). The simplicity and tunable flexibility of the Cb-based emitters could allow for the development of low-cost and easy-to-use sensors for widespread use.

Dr. Rongfeng Guan, one of the lead authors of the study, commented on the potential applications of their research (1).

"Our findings offer a promising approach for the development of quantitative and high-performance sensors for the detection of volatile organic compounds,” Guan said (1). “We hope that this work will inspire further research into the development of more effective and efficient sensing technologies" (1).

Overall, this study presents a novel approach to achieving simplified and tunable flexibility in carborane-based emitters for quantitative vapochromic VOC sensing. The development of low-cost and easy-to-use sensors for real-time monitoring of air quality and volatile organic compounds could have a significant impact on public health and environmental protection.

Reference

(1) Wang, Z.; Chen, B.; Zhang, H.; Hong, D.; Guan, R.Achieving Simplified and Tunable Flexibility in Carborane-Based Emitters for Quantitative Vapochromic VOC Sensing. Anal. Chem. 2023, ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.2c05816

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