SMARTNANO: Simultaneous multi-parametric readout for low-cost nanoparticle sensors based on molecularly imprinted polymers
SMARTNANO aims at developing novel sensors for detecting engineered nanoparticles (ENPs of Au and TiO2) in aqueous solutions. For that purpose, it suggests new developments in both the transducer and the receptor layer of those sensors: In terms of the transducer, it will implement a multi-parametric sensor setup based on three-electrode quartz crystal microbalances (QCM) as the substrates. The system will read out three complementary parameters, namely the frequencies of the three QCM channels, the impedance spectra of each electrode and heat transfer resistance above each electrode. Recognition layers will be based on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP). MIPs can be synthesized by self-organization between a template (nanoparticles in this case) and suitable monomers. SMARTNANO will design novel artificial receptors based on controlled radical polymerization concepts such as RAFT and sol-gel synthesis. Combining the MIP, which is selective for the nanoparticle diameter and the chemical composition of the stabilizer, with the multi-parameter sensor will yield information on the particles and allows for highly selective detection. Furthermore, the sensor will also be utilized for optimizing the MIP-synthesis protocols.