New triphenylene derivatives 3 and 5, synthesized using a Suzuki–Miyaura coupling protocol and by a click reaction respectively, serve as potent chemosensors for various electron deficient nitroaromatic explosives, such as picric acid, trinitrotoluene, dinitrotoluene and dinitrobenzene. Derivative 5 exhibits a more sensitive response towards the nitroaromatics compared to derivative 3 due to its ordered organization. Furthermore, the solution coated strips of derivative 3 and gel coated strips of derivative 5 can detect picric acid in the range of 14 pg cm−2, thus providing a simple and low cost method for the detection of picric acid in aqueous solution and in a contact mode.
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