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Sensors for the determination of organic load (Chemical Oxygen Demand) utilizing copper/copper oxide nanoparticle electrodes
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1  Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Published: 14 November 2019 by MDPI in 6th International Electronic Conference on Sensors and Applications session Posters

Chemical oxygen demand (COD) is a widely used parameter in analysing and controlling the degree of pollution in water. Methods of analysis based on electrochemical sensors are increasingly being used for COD quantitation, because they could be simple, accurate, sensitive and environmentally friendly. Electro-oxidizing the organic contaminants to completely transform them into CO2 and H2O is considered the best method for COD estimation using sensors. In this sense, copper electrodes have been reported based on the fact that copper in alkaline media acts as a powerful electrocatalyst for oxidation of aminoacids and carbohydrates, which are believed to be the major culprits for organic pollution. In this work, three kinds of copper/copper oxide electrodes were studied employing the cyclic voltammetry technique: electrodeposited copper nanoparticle electrode, copper nanoparticle-graphite composite electrode and copper oxide nanoparticle-graphite composite electrode. Actual COD estimations are based on the measurement of oxidation currents of organic compounds. Glucose, potassium hydrogen phthalate and ethylene glycol were chosen to be the standard substances to observe the responses, and correlate current intensity vs. COD values. The performed calibrations showed that glucose and ethylene glycol can be oxidized by these three electrodes, as the current intensity increased along with increasing concentrations. However, only the electrodeposited copper nanoparticle electrode showed ability to oxidize potassium hydrogen phthalate. Besides, the obtained voltammetric profiles presented different shapes with the tested organic compounds, suggesting this can be used as a potential fingerprint for distinguishing the organic compounds. Ongoing work is focused on optimizing measuring condition and detecting the COD values of real samples.

Keywords: Voltammetry, Copper nanoparticles, organic load, chemical oxygen demand