Interfaces, Confinement, Matériaux et Nanostructures - ICMN

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Imer Sadriu

PhD thesis directors : Christine VAUTRIN-Ul, Fetah I. PODVORICA
Supervisor : Jimmy NICOLLE
Laboratory : Interfaces, Confinement, Matériaux et Nanostructures (ICMN), CNRS /Université d’Orléans, Chemistry Department of Natural Sciences Faculty, University of Prishtina, Prishtina, Kosovo.
Scientific domains : Electrochemistry, Elaboration of materials and Electropolymerization of polymers
Title of the research subject : “Development of environmental sensors based on functionalized graphene allowing the detection of emerging micropollutants in waters.”
Start date : October 1st, 2017

Abstract :
This research is part of the PIVOTS Project, in the DECAP Platform that is funded by the Center-Val-de-Loire region and European Union (EU).
Context - We know that pesticides are used in a large scale in agriculture playing an important role for the plants growing process and from the beginning of twentieth century up to 1960s these molecules are considered like a miracle, but after this period was discovered that their products and their metabolites can have a very harmful effect for the environment and living organisms, even if they are present in trace scale in surface waters. That’s why all methods that provide us the simplest way how to determine these pollutants are welcomed.
Why electrochemical sensors are very suitable tools for sensing applications ? During the last decades, interest in the use of electrochemical sensors as a device for determination of various pollutants that may be present in surface waters is increased. In our lab we perform fabrication of sensors based on carbon using different strategies such as grafting and electropolymerization.
What is an electrochemical sensor ? Electrochemical sensor is a functionalized electrode which plays a role of the detector of any pollutant molecule that measure the concentration by oxidizing or reducing the target molecule and measuring the resulting current.
What is the objective of my thesis ? The objective is to develop environmental electrochemical sensors based on functionalized graphene electrodes which can be used as selectively tools for different pesticides molecules. In the first part of my thesis we have tried to develop some electrochemical sensors, which can be used for the determination of a target molecule (ex : pesticides) based on molecularly imprinted polymer. Molecular imprinting polymers is a well-established procedure. The strategy is based on a deposition of a thin film of a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) directly on the surface of the working electrode which plays a role of recognition unit resulting in an electrochemical sensor. We optimize all electrochemical parameters and characterize these polymer films in order to create sensors with a high detection performance, a high selectivity, a better sensitivity and reach very low limits of detection.

Scheme : The procedure that describes how a molecularly imprinted polymer sensor works involving different steps : 1. Electropolymerization of monomer, 2. Template extraction (removal), 3. Adsorbtion process (rebinding), 4. Electrochemical detection