Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. 2016, V. 226, p. 118–126
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Colorimetric cation responsive water soluble polymers and manageable films or membranes have beendesigned. The sensory materials respond with a colour change to the presence in water of Fe(III), Co(II),Cu(II), and Sn(II). The colour change is specific of each metal cation, and enables its identification (purplefor iron, orange for cobalt, green for copper, and yellow for tin). The design of the materials relies onan addition monomer having a terpyridine moiety, which behaves as a dye in presence of transitionmetal cations due to its proven chelating capability towards these species and the colour developmentthat always accompany the metallic complex formation. Water solutions of the sensory linear polymersallow for the UV/vis titration of Fe(III), Co(II), Cu(II), and Sn(II) with a limit of detection of 1.3 × 10−7,6.4 × 10−8, 1.3 × 10−5and 1.4 × 10−5M, respectively. On the other hand, sensory kits, cut from sensorymembranes, permitted the visual quantification of the cations in a dynamic range of five decades (1 × 10−7to 5 × 10−3M) for Fe(III) and Co(II) and of two decades (9 × 10−5to 9 × 10−3M) for Cu(II) and Sn(II).Titration curves can also be drawn from a picture taken to the sensory kits with a smartphone, by usingthe digital colour definition of the materials as analytical signal. Also, after entering into contact withhands, shapes of metallic objects (iron and cobalt containing tools) can be colour revealed by pressingthe hands on paper or cotton fabrics wetted with water solutions of the linear sensory polymer.