All solid-state miniaturized potentiometric sensors for flunitrazepam determination in beverages

Tantawy, M. A., E. H. Mohamed, and A. M. Yehia, All solid-state miniaturized potentiometric sensors for flunitrazepam determination in beverages, , vol. 188, issue 6, pp. 192, 2021.


Flunitrazepam is one of the frequently used hypnotic drugs to incapacitate victims for sexual assault. Appropriate diagnostic tools should be available to victims regarding the growing concern about “date-rape drugs” and their adverse impact on society. Miniaturized screen-printed potentiometric sensors offer crucial point-of-care devices that alleviate this serious problem. In this study, all solid-state screen-printed potentiometric flunitrazepam sensors have been designed. The paper device was printed with silver and carbon ink. Formation of an aqueous layer in the interface between carbon-conducting material and ion-sensing membrane nevertheless poses low reproducibility in the solid-contact electrodes. Accordingly, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDT) nano-dispersion was applied as a conducting hydrophobic polymer on the electrode surface to curb water accumulation. Conditioning of ion-sensing membrane in the vicinity of reference membrane has been considered carefully using special protocol. Electrochemical characteristics of the proposed PEDT-based sensor were calculated and compared favorably to PEDT-free one. The miniaturized device was successfully used for the determination of flunitrazepam in carbonated soft drinks, energy drink, and malt beverage. Statistical comparison between the proposed sensor and official method revealed no significant difference. Nevertheless, the proposed sensor provides simple and user-friendly diagnostic tool with less equipment for on-site determination of flunitrazepam.



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