To increase the production of crops, chemical fertilizers are used in crop fields. However, underuse or overuse cannot increase crop yields but even decrease them and cause severe environmental problems. Thus, the detection and monitoring of chemical concentration are increasingly important. To build up and monitor a data-based system for a large area, such a method is costly and time-consuming. In this research, we developed a conductive polymer-based sensor to detect nitrate concentrations in soil water. Conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) was used as our sensing material. To increase its conductivity, we used the vacuum phase polymerization method to achieve a high conductive and stable polymer film. The conductivity of the polymer film is 500 S/cm. Our results have demonstrated that the conductive polymer-based sensors have high sensitivity to nitrate solution. The response to 1000 ppm nitrate solution is 47.2% (Response = (Initrate - IDIwate) / IDIwater). The sensors can detect nitrate range from 1ppm to 1000 ppm. The response time is less than 1 minute. This impedance-based sensor will eventually be integrated with the surface acoustic wave sensors, combined with an antenna and a GPR unit for low maintenance, autonomous, and in-situ soil nutrient sensing.

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