Functionalizing Carbon Substrates with a Covalently Attached Cobalt Redox Buffer for Calibration-Free Solid-Contact Ion-Selective Electrodes

Minog Kim, Xin I.N. Dong, Brian D. Spindler, Philippe Bühlmann, Andreas Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With a view to potentiometric sensing with minimal calibration requirements and high long-term stability, colloid-imprinted mesoporous (CIM) carbon was functionalized by the covalent attachment of a cobalt redox buffer and used as a new solid contact for ion-selective electrodes (ISEs). The CIM carbon surface was first modified by electroless grafting of a terpyridine ligand (Tpy-ph) using diazonium chemistry, followed by stepwise binding of Co(II) and an additional Tpy ligand to the grafted ligand, forming a bis(terpyridine) Co(II) complex, CIM-ph-Tpy-Co(II)-Tpy. Half a molar equivalent of ferrocenium tetrakis(3-chlorophenyl)borate was then used to partially oxidize the Co(II) complex. Electrodes prepared with this surface-attached CIM-ph-Tpy-Co(III/II)-Tpy redox buffer as a solid contact were tested as K+ sensors in combination with valinomycin as the ionophore and Dow 3140 silicone or plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) as the matrixes for the ion-selective membrane (ISM). This solid contact is characterized by a redox capacitance of 3.26 F/g, ensuring a well-defined interfacial potential that underpins the transduction mechanism. By use of a redox couple as an internal reference element to control the phase boundary potential at the interface of the ISM and the CIM carbon solid contact, solid-contact ion-selective electrodes (SC-ISEs) with a standard deviation of E° as low as 0.3 mV for plasticized PVC ISMs and 3.5 mV for Dow 3140 silicone ISMs were obtained. Over 100 h, these SC-ISEs exhibit an emf drift of 20 μV/h for plasticized PVC ISMs and 62 μV/h for silicone ISMs. The differences in long-term stability and reproducibility between electrodes with ISMs comprising either a plasticized PVC or silicone matrix offer valuable insights into the effect of the polymeric matrix on sensor performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7558-7565
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 14 2024

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© 2024 American Chemical Society.

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