Abstract

Presence of toxic chemicals in food products due to the use of different synthetic materials in food packages may cause long-term health hazard. Addition of chemical components such as phthalate family (for instance, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, DEHP) to plastics may result in diffusion of these materials in food specially in liquids such as bottled soft drink, water and juice. In this work, we present a chemical sensor that can detect DEHP in orange juice at extremely low concentrations. The sensor is made of two interdigitated electrodes, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) is used for the detection. Sensors with different overall dimensions and finger/gap sizes were fabricated using a polycrystalline silicon standard foundry. For simplification of the experiments, low concentration of citric acid in water (similar to orange juice) is used to represent the orange juice. The sensors are exposed to different concentrations of DEHP and their Nyquist and impedance-frequency plots are studied. The experimental data shows that the sensors can distinctly capture low concentrations of DEHP in the juice solution. An electrical model is developed that can simulate the frequency response of the system containing the sensor and the solution. The model includes dynamic physical parameters such as double-layer capacitance, solution resistance and Warburg impedance that can be used in detection. EIS curves fit to experimental data shows that the model well fits the experimental data.

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