A novel chemosensor for the detection of inorganic phosphate (Pi) in environmental water samples is outlined. The sensing solution is comprised of a luminescent lanthanide, terbium (Tb3+), chelated to ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) acid in solution with cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB)- capped gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The Tb-EDTA and AuNPs undergo a Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) mechanism in which the Tb3+ luminescence is quenched. Upon the addition of inorganic phosphate (Pi), the AuNPs begin to aggregate and precipitate out of solution. The aggregation of AuNPs results in the restoration of the Tb-EDTA signal which can then be correlated to Pi concentration in the matrix of analysis. The developed sensor has the potential for on-site monitoring of Pi in environmental waters at the sampling location; this would be advantageous for the prevention and understanding of eutrophication events caused by anthropogenic release of nutrients such as Pi. The limit of detection (LOD) of the luminescence sensor (83 ppb-Pi) is within the range of LODs previously reported for on-site monitoring of Pi. Quantitative analysis carried out via the multiple standard additions method provided accurate determination of Pi concentrations in heavily contaminated environmental waters. Additional studies include the synthesis of an organic antenna for the sensitization of the lanthanide ion and further improvement of detection levels.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Johnson, Madeleine, "Detection of Inorganic Phosphate in Environmental Water Samples using a Terbium and Gold Nanoparticle-based FRET Chemosensor" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5599.