The requirement for on-line and in-situ monitoring of analytes in process and effluent streams and in ground waters has become increasingly more important in recent years. We therefore describe the development of the transduction element for a fully automated online instrument for the detection of caesium. The sensor layer for this instrument employs an Ion Selective Conductimetric microsensor (ISCOM) as the detector. This is based upon a plasticized polymeric membrane incorporating a selective ionophore, overlaying two interdigitated microelectrode arrays. A direct relationship has been observed between the bulk conductance (as determined by the microelectrodes) of the ionophore loaded membrane and the concentration of the primary ions in solution. Caesium selective ISCOMs were prepared using a ion selective membrane containing the commercially available ionophore Calix[6]arene-hexaacetic acid hexaethyl ester, polyvinylchloride (PVC) and plasticiser Nitrophenylether (NPOE). Methods of ion selective membrane deposition have been investigated in order to obtain a maximal response. The relative levels of membrane components have also been varied in order to further enhance the ISCOM reponse. We also present preliminary data concerning the caesium selectivity with respect to a range of possible interferents, including rubidium.

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