Toward the optimization of an e-tongue system using information visualization: A case study with perylene tetracarboxylic derivative films in the sensing units

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The wide variety of molecular architectures used in sensors and biosensors and the large amount of data generated with some principles of detection have motivated the use of computational methods, such as information visualization techniques, not only to handle the data but also to optimize sensing performance. In this study, we combine projection techniques with micro-Raman scattering and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to address critical issues related to practical applications of electronic tongues (e-tongues) based on impedance spectroscopy. Experimentally, we used sensing units made with thin films of a perylene derivative (AzoPTCD acronym), coating Pt interdigitated electrodes, to detect CuCl 2 (Cu 2+), methylene blue (MB), and saccharose in aqueous solutions, which were selected due to their distinct molecular sizes and ionic character in solution. The AzoPTCD films were deposited from monolayers to 120 nm via Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) and physical vapor deposition (PVD) techniques. Because the main aspects investigated were how the interdigitated electrodes are coated by thin films (architecture on e-tongue) and the film thickness, we decided to employ the same material for all sensing units. The capacitance data were projected into a 2D plot using the force scheme method, from which we could infer that at low analyte concentrations the electrical response of the units was determined by the film thickness. Concentrations at 10 μM or higher could be distinguished with thinner films-tens of nanometers at most-which could withstand the impedance measurements, and without causing significant changes in the Raman signal for the AzoPTCD film-forming molecules. The sensitivity to the analytes appears to be related to adsorption on the film surface, as inferred from Raman spectroscopy data using MB as analyte and from the multidimensional projections. The analysis of the results presented may serve as a new route to select materials and molecular architectures for novel sensors and biosensors, in addition to suggesting ways to unravel the mechanisms behind the high sensitivity obtained in various sensors.


  • Diogo Volpati
  • Pedro H.B. Aoki
  • Cleber A.R. Dantas
  • Fernando V. Paulovich
  • Maria Cristina F. De Oliveira
  • Osvaldo N. Oliveira
  • Antonio Riul
  • Ricardo F. Aroca
  • Carlos J.L. Constantino
External organisations
  • São Paulo State University
  • Federal University of São Carlos
  • University of São Paulo
  • University of Windsor
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Inorganic Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1040
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 10
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes