- Open Access
Nanomaterial-based environmental sensing platforms using state-of-the-art electroanalytical strategies
© The Author(s). 2018
- Received: 30 May 2018
- Accepted: 2 August 2018
- Published: 31 August 2018
Electroanalytical techniques have been extensively employed in the advancement of sensor platforms based on nanomaterials owing to their rapid response, high sensitivity, and selectivity. It is of immense significance for the swift and sensitive detection of environmental pollutants or contaminants such as a major group of unregulated chemicals such as heavy metals, inorganic anions, phenolic compounds, pesticides, and chemical warfare reagents, which may cumulatively resource severe harm to human health and environmental. These environmental pollutants are regularly obtained from a large group of unmaintained compounds/complexes, containing industry, human, and animal fecal waste; natural toxins; drinking water disinfection by-products; personal care products; pharmaceuticals; food materials through food preparation and packaging processes, etc. The present minireview will display various concepts and advancements of electroanalytical techniques and their potential applications in environmental sensing. The introduction of novel electroanalytical tools and nanostructured electrode surfaces may demonstrate even higher sensitive and selective sensor platforms. Electroanalytical methods possess passionate importance in the analytical research community, and they serve as ideal tactics, which display several features such as rapid response, robustness, high selectivity and sensitivity, cost-effective miniaturization, and the perspective for online monitoring towards environmental, food, and biomedical applications. The advancement and prospects for the applications of electroanalytical techniques using nanomaterials in the design of environmental sensor platforms will also be discussed.
- Environmental monitoring
- Electrochemical methods
- Sensor platforms
Potentiostatic techniques (Ricci et al. 2007) involve the use of a potentiostat instrument to control the potential and deal with the charge transfer processes at the electrode/electrolyte interface. As a result, they can determine the concentration of many environmental species including the electroactive compounds from electrochemical reduction or oxidation and the non-electroactive compounds from indirect or derivatization electrochemical procedures (Jin et al. 2016; Jin et al. 2010). In comparison with potentiometry, the advantages of potentiostatic techniques are high sensitivity and selectivity, wide linear range, portable and low-cost setup, and particularly considerable electrode material availability (Fleet and Gunasinghuam 1992). Consequently, the reported electrochemical detections for environmental monitoring are mainly concentrated on potentiostatic methods, including cyclic voltammetry (CV), amperometry, and stripping voltammetry.
This minireview has described to emphasize the electroanalytical techniques employed for the sensing of environmental pollutants based on nanomaterials as the exceptional analytical tools among other analytical methods in use today. Electroanalytical chemistry offers considerable promise for the environmental sensing platforms, with features of remarkable sensitivity and selectivity, low detection limit, inherent miniaturization, and portability. The analytes can be electrochemically monitored with a measurable potential (potentiometry), current (cyclic voltammetry, amperometry, stripping voltammetry), impedance (EIS), and conductivity (conductometry) as well as the recently updated electrochemiluminescence (ECL). With respect to numerous pollutant systems, various electroanalytical techniques should be carefully selected to obtain better sensing performance. The sensitivity and selectivity of the environmental sensor platforms have always been coupled with their selection of electroanalytical tools, electrode materials of nanomaterials, and electrolytes. The applications of electroanalytical methods have been evidenced for numerous applications in diagnostics, biological, biomedical, environmental, and food industries. The advancement of novel analytical methods with an excellent electrochemical active electrode surfaces based on functional nanomaterials offers the prospect of environmental sensors that will display even rapid response and high sensitivity. With the knowledge of electrochemistry and a better indulgent of electrode fabrication with micro- and nano-scale electrodes and testing, the performance of sensor platforms will improve considerably in terms of both sensitivity and detection limits. Electroanalytical techniques will certainly participate a significant role in their development, and the advancement in these areas will be persuaded to spark innovations in health, industry, and society as an intact.
WJ acknowledges the funding support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 51604253 and “CAS Pioneer Hundred Talents Program”.
Availability of data and materials
Data are available on request.
This review was primarily designed and written by WJ and GM. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Both authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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