Molecularly imprinted sol-gel-based QCM sensor arrays for the detection and recognition of volatile aldehydes

Chuanjun Liu, Bartosz Wyszynski, Rui Yatabe, Kenshi Hayashi, Kiyoshi Toko

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39 Citations (Scopus)


The detection and recognition of metabolically derived aldehydes, which have been identified as important products of oxidative stress and biomarkers of cancers; are considered as an effective approach for early cancer detection as well as health status monitoring. Quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensor arrays based on molecularly imprinted sol-gel (MISG) materials were developed in this work for highly sensitive detection and highly selective recognition of typical aldehyde vapors including hexanal (HAL); nonanal (NAL) and bezaldehyde (BAL). The MISGs were prepared by a sol-gel procedure using two matrix precursors: tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) and tetrabutoxytitanium (TBOT). Aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APT); diethylaminopropyltrimethoxysilane (EAP) and trimethoxy-phenylsilane (TMP) were added as functional monomers to adjust the imprinting effect of the matrix. Hexanoic acid (HA); nonanoic acid (NA) and benzoic acid (BA) were used as psuedotemplates in view of their analogous structure to the target molecules as well as the strong hydrogen-bonding interaction with the matrix. Totally 13 types of MISGs with different components were prepared and coated on QCM electrodes by spin coating. Their sensing characters towards the three aldehyde vapors with different concentrations were investigated qualitatively. The results demonstrated that the response of individual sensors to each target strongly depended on the matrix precursors; functional monomers and template molecules. An optimization of the 13 MISG materials was carried out based on statistical analysis such as principle component analysis (PCA); multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA). The optimized sensor array consisting of five channels showed a high discrimination ability on the aldehyde vapors; which was confirmed by quantitative comparison with a randomly selected array. It was suggested that both the molecularly imprinting (MIP) effect and the matrix effect contributed to the sensitivity and selectivity of the optimized sensor array. The developed MISGs were expected to be promising materials for the detection and recognition of volatile aldehydes contained in exhaled breath or human body odor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number382
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 16 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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