Nitroaromatic explosives detection using electrochemically exfoliated graphene
Detection of nitroaromatic explosives is of paramount importance from security point of view. Graphene sheets obtained from the electrochemical anodic exfoliation of graphite foil in different electrolytes (LiClO4 and Na2SO4) were compared and tested as electrode material for the electrochemical detection of 2,4-dinitrotoluene (DNT) and 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) in seawater. Voltammetry analysis demonstrated the superior electrochemical performance of graphene produced in LiClO4, resulting in higher sensitivity and linearity for the explosives detection and lower limit of detection (LOD) compared to the graphene obtained in Na2SO4. We attribute this to the presence of oxygen functionalities onto the graphene material obtained in LiClO4 which enable charge electrostatic interactions with the -NO2 groups of the analyte, in addition to pi-pi stacking interactions with the aromatic moiety. Research findings obtained from this study would assist in the development of portable devices for the on-site detection of nitroaromatic explosives.