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Polymer's hunt for nicotine
Date:8/4/2011

ine", stresses Dr. Krzysztof Noworyta from IPC PAS, adding that in one of the devised polymers the pincers are located on both sides of the zinc containing-ring plane. "Such a design clearly increases the efficiency of nicotine trapping", says Dr. Noworyta.

Beside nicotine, the polymer captures also a cotinine alkaloid produced in the metabolism of nicotine and other alkaloids often accompanying nicotine, e.g., myosmine. Polymer binding to nicotine is durable but reversible. It is the property why the new chemosensors for determination of nicotine and its analogues can be used repeatedly.

Nicotine is detected by means of a piezoelectric resonator coated by electropolymerization with a submicrometer thick polymer film. The captured nicotine increases the mass of the film resulting in a decrease in the resonant frequency of the resonator that is easy to measure. "It can be said that we are weighing a film of our polymer all throughout the experiment. Because we know the initial polymer mass and we know that the polymer selectively captures nicotine and its analogues, an increased mass of the film means that these compounds are present in solution", explains Dr. Noworyta.

Quartz acoustic bulk wave resonators used in experiments with the new polymer allow determining nicotine in solutions. In the near future, the researchers from IPC PAS plan to establish collaboration with manufacturers of surface acoustic wave resonators. These resonators oscillate at significantly higher frequencies, thus being more sensitive, and after coating with the nicotine capturing polymer film could detect nicotine also in gases.

In the method described herein, the detection and determination of nicotine do not need to be confined to weighing. Because nicotine is electroactive, the researchers from IPC PAS are going to measure oxidation current of nicotine trapped in the polymer in parallel with the resonant frequency measurement. Simultaneous measu
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Contact: Antoni Szafranski
press@ichf.edu.pl
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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