A field-deployed surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor for RDX quantification in environmental waters
A field-deployable surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor is reported for the detection of the energetic material (commonly termed explosives) 1,3,5-trinitroperhydro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) at ppb concentration in environmental samples. The SPR sensor was first validated under laboratory conditions with uncontaminated natural water samples spiked with known concentrations of RDX near the EPA limit of 2 ppb, which was then applied to monitor environmental samples collected in different downgradient wells near a grenade training range. The SPR sensor was finally tested on the field, where environmental samples were analysed on location in less than 90 minutes per well, which included the time to setup the equipment, sample the well and analyse the sample. The SPR analysis time was less than 45 minutes for equilibration, recalibration and measuring the water sample. Results obtained with the SPR sensors were cross-validated with the standard HPLC method (EPA method 8330b), and they showed good agreement with an accuracy within less than 1.6 ppb for analysis at the sampling sites, and with the relative standard deviation (RSD) better than 20% for field and laboratory measurements. The SPR sensor worked in a range of environmental conditions, including operation from about 0 °C to nearly 30 °C. The instrument was easily deployed near the sampling site using motor vehicles under summer conditions (Lab-in-a-Jeep) and using a sled under winter conditions (Lab-on-a-sled), showcasing the field deployability of the RDX SPR sensor and the possibility of continuously monitoring RDX in the environment.
- This article is part of the themed collections: RSC papers by GRC Bioanalytical Sensors 2018 Speakers and CSC100: Celebrating Canadian Chemistry