Perfluorinated compounds like perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are synthetic water pollutants and have accumulated in environments for decades, causing a serious global health issue. Conventional assays rely on liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy that are very expensive and complicated and thus limit the large-scale monitoring of PFOS in wastewater. To achieve low-cost and accurate detection of PFOS, we designed a paper-based sensor with molecularly imprinted polyaniline electrodes that have recognition sites specific to PFOS. The calibration curve of resistivity ratios as a function of PFOS concentrations has a linear range from 1 to 100 ppt with a coefficient of determination of 0.995. The estimated limit of detection is 1.02 ppt. We also investigated attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) spectra of the surface of the polyaniline (PANI) electrodes to propose the potential recognition sites in polyaniline matrix and the detection mechanism. This electrical paper sensor with low cost and excellent sensitivity and selectivity provides the potential for large-scale monitoring of wastewater.
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