Hybrids of silver nanoparticle-decorated reduced graphene oxide (Ag-RGO) have been prepared with the use of poly(ionic liquid) (PIL) as a versatile capping agent to develop volatile organic compound (VOC) sensors. The hybrid materials of Ag-RGO/PIL were assembled into three-dimensional-laminated nanostructures, where spherical Ag nanoparticles with diameters between 50 and 300 nm were homogeneously distributed on the graphene sheets and interspaced between them. Ag-RGO/PIL sensors were fabricated by spray layer-by-layer technique and used to detect a set of polar (methanol, ethanol, methyl acetate, acetone and water) and non-polar (chloroform, dichlorobenzene, toluene and styrene) organic vapours. Much higher sensitivity and discriminability were obtained for polar vapours although non-polar ones could also be detected. In comparison with either simple reduced graphene oxide or carbon nanotubes (CNT) functionalised by PIL, the hybrid Ag-RGO/PIL-based sensors showed superior performances in terms of sensitivity, selectivity, stability and high reliability. For example, a signal-to-noise ratio up to 168 was obtained for 1 ppm of methanol and signals drift between two experiments spaced out in the time of 3 months was less than 3 %. It is expected that by extrapolation, a limit of detection at the parts per billion level can be reached. These results are promising to design e-noses based on high stability chemoresistive sensors for emerging applications such as anticipated diagnostic of food degradation or diseases by the analysis of VOC, some of them being in this case considered as biomarkers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry