Detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons using quartz crystal microbalances

Simon Stanley, Carl Percival, Manfred Auer, Alan Braithwaite, Michael Newton, Glen McHale, Wayne Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


A chemically coated piezoelectric sensor has been developed for the determination of PAHs in the liquid phase. An organic monolayer attached to the surface of a gold electrode of a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) via a covalent thiol-gold link complete with an ionically bound recognition element has been produced. This study has employed the PAH derivative 9-anthracene carboxylic acid which, once bound to the alkane thiol, functions as the recognition element. Binding of anthracene via pi-pi interaction has been observed as a frequency shift in the QCM with a detectability of the target analyte of 2 ppb and a response range of 0-50 ppb. The relative response of the sensor altered for different PAHs despite pi-pi interaction being the sole communication between recognition element and analyte. It is envisaged that such a sensor could be employed in the identification of key marker compounds and, as such, give an indication of total PAH flux in the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1573-1577
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003


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