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Naked-eye facile colorimetric detection of alkylphenols using Fe(III)-impregnated silica-based strips

Tawfik A. Khattab, Sherif Abdelmoez Aly, and Thomas M. Klapötke

National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt



Abstract: In this study, we developed a solid state sensor typically used for sensing alkylphenols in an aqueous environment. The colorimetric detection of the analyte is based on Fe(III)-impregnated silica assay with a detection limit that lies in the range of 10−8 mol L−1. The chromic Fe(III)-impregnated silica strip provides an immediate color change signal from yellow to dark purple upon exposure to an aqueous media of an alkylphenol as indicated by the coloration measurements. The visible color change of the thin layer chromatography (TLC) strip was found to change from yellow to dark purple proportionally by increasing the alkylphenol concentration. Recognition of alkylphenol occurs via Fe(III)-phenol complex formation. The energy dispersive spectroscopic analysis was employed to describe the elemental composition of Fe(III)-impregnated silica strip. This Fe(III)-TLC-based platform holds potential for the recognition of different categories of phenols. The proposed assay has the advantage of facile fabrication, portability, easy operation, rapidity, low cost and simplicity over other detection methods, without the need for sophisticated instrumentation and trained personnel.

Facile, highly sensitive, fast detection, and portable Fe(III)-impregnated TLC sensor strips for nonylphenol in aqueous media displaying a remarkable visible color change from yellow to dark purple depending on phenol concentration.

Keywords: Alkylphenol ; Ferric chloride ; Sensor ; Colorimetric 

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-018-0409-7


Chemical Papers 72 (6) 1553–1559 (2018)

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