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Novel multiplex capacitive sensor based on molecularly imprinted polymers: A promising tool for tracing specific amphetamine synthesis markers in sewage water

: Rycke, E. De; Leman, O.; Dubruel, P.; Hedström, M.; Völker, M.; Beloglazova, N.; Saeger, S. De


Biosensors & bioelectronics 178 (2021), Art. 113006
ISSN: 0956-5663
ISSN: 1873-4235
Fraunhofer IIS ()

The development of a sensing system for amphetamine (AMP), N-formyl amphetamine (NFA), and benzyl methyl ketone (BMK) in sewage is a strict requirement for enabling the on-site detection and tracing of the consumption of AMP, and the production and/or transportation of these target analytes. The present research is therefore devoted to the development of an on-site capacitive sensing system, based on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) as recognition elements. To this end, the commercially available CapSenze capacitive sensor system was miniaturized by implementing an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), dedicated to the bias and read-out of the chemical sensor. MIPs towards AMP were purchased, whereas the ones towards NFA and BMK were synthesized in house. Gold transducers, consisting of six working electrodes with their corresponding reference electrodes and one common auxiliary electrode, were designed together with a flow cell to enable analyses. The applied water samples were filtered through a 20 micron filter before application in the sensors’ flow cell. The limits of detection in filtered sewage water were determined to be 25 μM for NFA and BMK and 50 μM for AMP. The overall performance of the sensing system was tested by analysis of blind-coded sewage samples, provided by legal authorities. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first research presenting multiplex MIP-based detection of amphetamine synthesis markers using a capacitive sensor, miniaturized via ASIC technology. The presented technique is undoubtedly a potential solution for any analysis requiring constant reliable on-site monitoring of a substance of interest.