Cobalt encapsulated in bamboo-like N-doped carbon nanotubes for highly sensitive electroanalysis of Pb(ii): enhancement based on adsorption and catalysis†
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are recognized as desirable candidates to fabricate electrochemical sensing interfaces owing to their high surface area and excellent electron conductivity. However, the poor catalytic properties of CNTs significantly hinder their further application in electrochemical detection. Herein, for the first time we combined defective CNTs with catalytically active cobalt nanoparticles (Co NPs) to give cobalt encapsulated in a bamboo-like N-doped carbon nanotube nanocomposite (Co/N-CNTs). The novel constructed Co/N-CNTs are used as a modifier on a bare glass carbon electrode for the electrochemical detection of Pb(II). As a result, the positive effect of adsorption and catalysis on Co/N-CNT shows a significant improvement in the electroanalytical performance towards Pb(II) with a sensitivity of 69.74 μA μM−1 and a limit of detection of 0.039 μM. Moreover, the stability and practical applications of Co/N-CNTs towards Pb(II) in real water samples obtained from a mining subsidence area were also considered. This method shows great promise, achieving an outstanding electroanalysis efficiency with noble-metal-free nanocomposite sensors based on the combination of carbon and transition metals.