Rational design of QCM-D virtual sensor arrays based on film thickness, viscoelasticity, and harmonics for vapor discrimination

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© 2015 American Chemical Society. Herein, we demonstrate an alternative strategy for creating QCM-based sensor arrays by use of a single sensor to provide multiple responses per analyte. The sensor, which simulates a virtual sensor array (VSA), was developed by depositing a thin film of ionic liquid, either 1-octyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide ([OMIm][Br]) or 1-octyl-3-methylimidazolium thiocyanate ([OMIm][SCN]), onto the surface of a QCM-D transducer. The sensor was exposed to 18 different organic vapors (alcohols, hydrocarbons, chlorohydrocarbons, nitriles) belonging to the same or different homologous series. The resulting frequency shifts (Δf) were measured at multiple harmonics and evaluated using principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis (DA) which revealed that analytes can be classified with extremely high accuracy. In almost all cases, the accuracy for identification of a member of the same class, that is, intraclass discrimination, was 100% as determined by use of quadratic discriminant analysis (QDA). Impressively, some VSAs allowed classification of all 18 analytes tested with nearly 100% accuracy. Such results underscore the importance of utilizing lesser exploited properties that influence signal transduction. Overall, these results demonstrate excellent potential of the virtual sensor array strategy for detection and discrimination of vapor phase analytes utilizing the QCM. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on QCM VSAs, as well as an experimental sensor array, that is based primarily on viscoelasticity, film thickness, and harmonics.

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Analytical Chemistry

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