Molecular recognition of organic compounds in aqueous solutions is inherently challenging due to the potential interference from the very high concentration of water. Here we present a simple colorimetric sensor array that probes a wide range of chemical properties. By printing hydrophobic dyes on a hydrophobic membrane, sensor arrays are easily prepared that provide substantial chemical selectivity for the identification and quantification of various organics (both single compounds and complex mixtures) dissolved in water. It is possible to differentiate easily even among closely related organic compounds. Upon immersion in aqueous solutions, digital imaging of the dye array before and after exposure to an analyte provide a color change profile that is a fingerprint for the organic components of the solution. Facile identification of a wide variety of aqueous organic solutions is possible over a concentration range of 0.1 M to 1 μM. Complex mixtures present no inherent difficulty; for example, a series of commercial soft drinks were easily distinguished using the colorimetric sensor array approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry