Researchers Develop Efficient Nitroaromatic Compound Detection Method Using Novel Porous Polymers


Detecting nitroaromatic compounds is essential to preserve the environment. A recent study out of China saw the development of new conjugated porous polymers (CPPs) that could improve detection of these volatile compounds.

In a recent study published in the Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, lead authors Wenyue Dong and Qian Duan from China introduced a significant advancement in the detection of nitroaromatic compounds utilizing conjugated porous polymers (CPPs) (1).

Glass globe encircled by verdant forest flora, symbolizing nature, environment, sustainability, ESG, and climate change awareness, generative ai | Image Credit: © InputUX -

Glass globe encircled by verdant forest flora, symbolizing nature, environment, sustainability, ESG, and climate change awareness, generative ai | Image Credit: © InputUX -

Nitroaromatic compounds pose serious environmental and safety concerns. These compounds are commonly used in chemical industries and explosives. Sensing applications for nitroaromatic compounds in aqueous media encountered a couple key challenges, such as being limited by poor dispersity and solubility in water (1).

Because of these challenges, the research team developed PSiAn, which were anthracene and tetraphenylsilane-based CPPs (1). They developed these CPPs through conventional Suzuki coupling and Suzuki-miniemulsion polymerization techniques (1). The research team utilized several spectroscopic techniques to characterize the structure, porosity, and morphology of the CPPs, including proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, N2 sorption isotherm analysis, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

Notably, both CPPs exhibited a porous structure, ideal for the adsorption and diffusion of analytes. Particularly, the PSiAn nanoparticles, with a particle size of 10–40 nm, demonstrated exceptional dispersion in aqueous phases (1).

The PSiAn nanoparticles were effective when they were used to conduct photoluminescence (PL) sensing of nitroaromatic explosives in aqueous phases. The nanoparticles demonstrated minimal interference in the presence of other nitro-compounds and high selectivity. The research team achieved a limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantitation (LOQ) for 2,4,6-trinitrophenol (TNP) at 0.33 μM and 1.11 μM, respectively (1).

Furthermore, the team conducted spike/recovery tests in real water samples, revealing a quantitative recovery of TNP ranging from 100.74% to 101.00% (1). The researchers delineated the PL sensing mechanism by conducting investigations that included electrochemical tests, UV-visible absorption spectra, excitation and emission spectra, and time-resolved PL spectra (1). Notably, they identified the fluorescence inner filter effect as the predominant quenching mechanism during the detection of nitrophenolic compounds like TNP and 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) (1).

This study advances the exploration of finding new ways to conduct nitroaromatic compound detection, as the PSiAn nanoparticles’ morphology and porosity enable their efficient dispersity in water and superior adsorption and diffusion capabilities for nitroaromatic analytes.

This article was written with the help of artificial intelligence and has been edited to ensure accuracy and clarity. You can read more about our policy for using AI here.


(1) Sun, X.; Cui, Q.; Dong, W.; Duan, Q.; Fei, T. Anthracene and Tetraphenylsilane-based Conjugated Porous Polymer Nanoparticles for Sensitive Detection of Nitroaromatics in Water. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc. 2024, 308, 123667. DOI: 10.1016.j.saa.2023.123667

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