Acetaminophen, commonly found in Tylenol and other over the counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals, was electrochemically characterized on custom made, flexible, screen printed electrodes (SPEs) to serve as a model target pharmaceutical found in flowing water lines. Carbon, silver/silver chloride, and insulator paste inks were printed onto polyethylene naphthalateolyester (PEN) using custom made stencils for a 4x1 array of 3-electrode electrochemical cells. Cyclic voltammetry was performed to find the electrical potential corresponding to the greatest current response and the experiments were conducted using amperometric current-time mode (AMP*i-t). The physical limitations of SPEs as well as the detection limitations of the target, such as pH and temperature were tested. A concentration gradient of the target was fitted with a linear curve (R2 0.99), and a lower limit of detection of 14.5 μM. It was also found that both pH and temperature affect the current produced by acetaminophen at a fixed concentration, and that the sensors can detect target in a continuous flow. A flow apparatus consisting of an inlet and effluent pipe served as the flow model into which a rolled up flexible electrode array was inserted. The broader goal of this research is to develop a highly sensitive electrode array on flexible substrates which can detect multiple targets simultaneously. Acetaminophen was chosen due to its electro-active properties and its presence in most public water lines in the United States.
- Real time detection of trace pharmaceuticals under a flow using flexible screen printed electrodes
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