Abstract: A double-imprinted polymer exhibiting high sensitivity for mercury(II) in aqueous solution is presented. Polymer particles imprinted with mercury(II) were synthesised by copolymerising the functional and cross-linking monomers, N'-[3- (Trimethoxysilyl)-propyl]diethylenetriamine (TPET) and tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS). A double-imprinting procedure employing hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), as a second template to improve the efficiency of the polymer, was adopted. The imprinted polymer was characterised by FTIR, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the average size determined by screen analysis using standard test sieves. Relative selective coefficients (k) of the imprinted polymer evaluated from selective binding studies between Hg 2+ and Cu 2+ or Hg 2+ and Cd 2+ were 10 588 and 3 147, respectively. These values indicated highly-favoured Hg 2+ extractions over the 2 competing ions. The results of spiked and real water samples showed high extraction efficiencies of Hg 2+ ions, (over 84%) as evaluated from the detected unextracted Hg 2+ ions by ICP-OES. The method exhibited a dynamic response concentration range for Hg 2+ between 0.01 and 20 μg/ml, with a detection limit (LOD, 3s) of 0.000036 μg/ml (36 ng/l) that meets the monitoring requirements for the USA EPA of 2 000 ng/l for Hg 2+ in drinking water. Generally, the data (n=10) had percentage relative standard deviations (%RSD) of less than 4%. Satisfactory results were also obtained when the prepared sorbent was applied for the pre-concentration of Hg 2+ from an aqueous certified reference material. These findings indicate that the double-imprinted polymer has potential to be used as an efficient extraction material for the selective pre-concentration of mercury(II) ions in aqueous environments.
Template and target information: mercury ions, Hg(II)
Author keywords: Ion-imprinted polymer, Mercury(II) ion, pre-concentration, selective extraction