Four types of monolayer-protected gold nanoclusters (MPCs) were synthesized and characterized as active layers of vapor sensors. An interdigitated microelectrode (IDE) and quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) were used to measure the electrical resistance and mass loading changes of MPC films during vapor sorption. The vapor sensing selectivity was influenced by the ligand structure of the monolayer on the surface of gold nanoparticles. The responses of MPC-coated QCM were mainly determined according to the affinity between the vapors and surface ligands of MPCs. The responses to the resistance changes of the MPC films were due to the effectiveness of the swelling when vapor was absorbed. It was observed that resistive sensitivity to polar organics could be greatly enhanced when the MPC contained ligands that contain interior polar functional groups with exterior nonpolar groups. This finding reveals that reducing interparticle attraction by using non-polar exterior groups could increase effective swelling and therefore enhance the sensitivity of MPC-coated chemiresistors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas