Robust Chemiresistive Sensor for Continuous Monitoring of Free Chlorine Using Graphene-like Carbon
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Free chlorine is widely used in industry as a bleaching and oxidizing agent. Its concentration is tightly monitored to avoid environmental contamination and deleterious human health effects. Here, we demonstrate a solid state chemiresistive sensor using graphene like carbon (GLC) to detect free chlorine in water. A 15-20 nm thick GLC layer on a PET substrate was modified with a redox-active aniline oligomer (phenyl-capped aniline tetramer, PCAT) to increase sensitivity, improve selectivity, and impart fouling resistance. Both the bare GLC sensor and the PCAT-modified GLC sensor can detect free chlorine continuously and, unlike previous chemiresistive sensors, do not require a reset. The PCAT-modified sensor showed a linear response with a slope of 13.89 (mg/L)-1 to free chlorine concentrations between 0.2 and 0.8 mg/L which is relevant for free chlorine monitoring for drinking water and wastewater applications. The PCAT-modified GLC sensors were found to be selective and showed less than 0.5% change in current in response to species such as nitrates, phosphates and sulfates in water. They also were resistant to fouling from organic material and showed only a 2% loss in signal. Tap water samples from residential area were tested using this sensor which showed good agreement with standard colorimetric measurement methods. The GLC and PCAT-GLC sensors show high sensitivity and excellent selectivity to free chlorine and can be used for continuous automated monitoring of free chlorine.