In this project, we will explore the feasibility of supramolecular sensor design with improved sensitivity and selectivity for biogenic amines such as histamine, serotonin and dopamine in environmental matrices. Cucurbiturils (CB[n]), which constitute macrocyclic host molecules with very high binding affinities for small guest molecules, will be used as sensing surfaces, either on their own or functionalized for a better selectivity. The incorporation of conducting polymers and metal nanoparticles will also be investigated to increase sensor sensitivity. The CB-based surfaces will be elaborated by the Langmuir-Blodgett technique as monolayers allowing a control of the density and organization in 2D, in comparison with usual methods for thin film elaboration. The different surfaces will be characterized in terms of surface organization and electrochemical properties in order to select the most suitable CB surfaces for sensor development and evaluate their performances. We will endeavour to develop novel sensors systems based on CB surface assembly using LB technique and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) as detection method. This sensing approach will be first developed for diclofenac detection, as an accepted benchmark target and will then be extended to the detection of biogenic amines such as histamine, serotonin and dopamine. The project is build under 3 Work Pakages (WPs):
WP 1 : Elaboration and characterization of different CB-based 2D-assembly using the Langmuir-Blodgett technique.
WP 2: Incorporation of polymer and metal nanoparticles in CB films for signal enhancement.
WP3: Evaluation of the sensor performances using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS).
The project involves the participation of Pr. Sophie Cantin (FR), Pr. Priscilla Baker (SA), Dr. Francis Muya (SA), Dr. Alae El Haitami and Dr Philippe Banet (FR); beside the recruitment of the following staff is planed: 1 PhD student and 3 Master students.