QCM sensing of a chemical nerve agent analog via electropolymerized molecularly imprinted polythiophene films

Aileen V. Vergara, Roderick B. Pernites, Shemaiah Pascua, Christina A. Binag, Rigoberto C. Advincula*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The highly selective and sensitive detection of a chemical nerve agent analog pinacolyl methylphosphonate (PMP) was demonstrated using an electrochemically molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) polythiophene film onto a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) transducer surface. The fabrication and optimization of the sensor film was monitored by in situ electrochemistry-QCM (EC-QCM) measurements, which determined the change in mass and simultaneous change in redox properties of the polymer film. The film deposition, template loading, and template removal were evidenced by a combination of surface characterization techniques such as the attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy and high-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The fabricated MIP film demonstrated a limit of detection and a limit of quantification of ∼60 and ∼197 μM, respectively. The linear sensing range is between 125 and 250 μM concentration of PMP. Finally, theoretical modeling (AM1 semiempirical quantum calculations) studies revealed that a stable prepolymerization complex is formed in solution with the existence of H-bonding interactions using the 2:1 monomer-to-template ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-685
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb 15
Externally publishedYes


  • electropolymerization
  • molecular imprinting
  • nerve agent
  • quartz crystal microbalance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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