Tailored fluorescent solvatochromic test strips for quantitative on-site detection of gasoline fuel adulteration†
Gasoline adulteration is a frequent problem world-wide, because of the chance of quick, maximized profits. However, addition of cheaper ethanol or hydrocarbons like kerosene does not only result in economic damage but also poses problems for vehicles and the environment. To enable law enforcement forces, customers or enterprises to uncover such a fraudulent activity directly upon suspicion and without the need to organize for sampling and laboratory analysis, we developed a simple strip-based chemical test. Key to the favorable performance was the dedicated materials tailoring, which led to test strips that consisted of a cellulose support coated with silica, passivated with hexamethyldisilazane and functionalized covalently with a molecular probe. The probe fluoresces brightly across a broad solvent polarity range, enabling reliable quantitative measurements and data analysis with a conventional smartphone. The assays showed high reproducibility and accuracy, allowing not only for the detection of gasoline adulteration but also for the on-site monitoring of the quality of commercial E10 gasoline.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles