Poster Winner, Antwi-Boampong

On April 24, 2013 by Grad Forum

Sadik_feature_editedCongratulations to graduate student Sadik Antwi-Boampong, in the Department of Chemistry, who was one of four winners of the Graduate Poster Session held recently in Alumni Hall! (Below is a summary of Antwi-Boampong’s poster.)

Poster Title: Detection of Formaldehyde Vapor Using Conductive Polymer Films

Formaldehyde is a ubiquitous carcinogen that leaches from construction materials, household appliances, and abounds in cigarette aerosol. Systemic exposure to formaldehyde causes cancers of the lungs, throat, and mouth as well as myeloid leukemia. It has been reported that exposure to extremely low formaldehyde concentrations, as low as 10 ppm, has debilitating health effects.

Current formaldehyde sensors are expensive, insensitive, and do not detect and report in real time. The goal of this project is to produce a direct procedure that is sensitive, specific, and relatively inexpensive to be used for a variety of commercial applications.

The current effort is directed toward development of such a personal device using a resistive sensor based on a composite film comprising a conductive polymer and a formaldehyde-target polymer additive. Specifically, the primary component of the composite is polyaniline (PANi), a conductive polymer whose conductivity can be modulated through acid-base chemistry or redox reaction. We are also able to tune the porosity of the film, which enhances its ability to bind (and thus sense) formaldehyde.

The sensor has been successfully calibrated, and we find that the change in electrical resistance scales correlatively with concentration of formaldehyde vapor. Additionally, the film is selective to formaldehyde, and not to water vapor, chloroform, or the other organic molecules tested, thus making the sensor appropriate for the sole monitoring of formaldehyde vapor.

By effectively and discriminately binding to formaldehyde, these compelling results motivate the development of the active element in personal, wearable sensors that provide real-time indications of exposure in the environment.

poster summary by Sadik Antwi-Boampong

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