American Chemical Society
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A Solid-State pH Sensor for Nonaqueous Media Including Ionic Liquids

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-04-02, 00:00 authored by Brianna C. Thompson, Orawan Winther-Jensen, Bjorn Winther-Jensen, Douglas R. MacFarlane
We describe a solid state electrode structure based on a biologically derived proton-active redox center, riboflavin (RFN). The redox reaction of RFN is a pH-dependent process that requires no water. The electrode was fabricated using our previously described ‘stuffing’ method to entrap RFN into vapor phase polymerized poly­(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene). The electrode is shown to be capable of measuring the proton activity in the form of an effective pH over a range of different water contents including nonaqueous systems and ionic liquids (ILs). This demonstrates that the entrapment of the redox center facilitates direct electron communication with the polymer. This work provides a miniaturizable system to determine pH (effective) in nonaqueous systems as well as in ionic liquids. The ability to measure pH (effective) is an important step toward the ability to customize ILs with suitable pH (effective) for catalytic reactions and biotechnology applications such as protein preservation.