Graphene-modified pencil graphite mercury-film electrodes for the determination of trace metals by cathodic adsorptive stripping voltammetry
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This project focuses on the simple, fast and highly sensitive adsorptive stripping voltammetry detection of Nickel and Cobalt complexed with DMG and Nioxime respectively at a Reduced Graphene Oxide modified pencil graphite electrode in water samples. This research as well demonstrates a novel electrochemically reduced graphene oxide (ERGO)/mercury film (MF) nanocomposite modified PGE, prepared through successive electrochemical reduction of graphene oxide (GO) sheets and in-situ plated mercury film. The GO and graphene were characterized using FT-IR, HR-SEM, HR-TEM, XRD and Raman spectroscopy. The FT-IR results supported by Xray diffraction analysis confirmed the inclusion of oxygen moieties within the graphitic structure during the chemical oxidation step. Microscopic and spectroscopic analysis was used to confirm the stackings of graphene on the pencil electrode. The ERGO-PG-MFE, in combination with a complexing agents of [dimethylglyoxime (DMG) and Nioxime] and square-wave cathodic stripping voltammetry (SW-CSV), was evaluated towards the individual determination of Ni2+ and Co2+ respectively and simultaneous determination of both metals from the combination of DMG and Nioxime mixture. A single-step electrode pre-concentration approach was employed for the in-situ Hg-film electroplating, metal-chelate complex formation and its non-electrolytic adsorption at – 0.7 V for the individual analysis of Ni2+ and Co2+. The current response due to metal-ligand(s) complex reduction were studied as a function of experimental variables; deposition/accumulation potential, deposition/accumulation time, rotation speed, frequency and amplitude and carefully optimized for the individual determination of Ni2+and Co2+ and simultaneous determination of Ni2+ and Co2+ at low concentration levels (μg L-1) in 0.1 M NH3- NH4Cl buffer solution (pH 9.4) solution. The recorded limit of detection for the individual analysis of Ni2+and Co2+ was found to be 0.120 μg L-1 and 0.220 μg L-1 respectively, at an accumulation time of 120 s for both metals. The recorded limit of detection of the simultaneous analysis of Ni2+ and Co2+ was found to be 6.1 μg L-1 and 1.8 μg L-1 respectively. The ERGO-PG-MFE further demonstrated a highly selective stripping response toward all trace metal analysis. The testing of the applicability of graphene-based sensor and method in laboratory tap water samples was evaluated. This electrode was found to be sensitive enough to detect metal ions in the tap water samples at the 0.2 μg L-1 level for individual analysis and 0.001 μg L-1 for simultaneous, well below WHO standards.