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Detection of Adulterated Diesel Using Fluorescent Test Strips and Smartphone Readout

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journal contribution
posted on 19.10.2017, 18:06 by Raúl Gotor, Carlo Tiebe, Jörg Schlischka, Jérémy Bell, Knut Rurack
The fluorescence properties of three molecular rotors, related to 4-dimethylamino-4-nitrostilbene (4-DNS), are studied versus different diesel/kerosene blends. In nonviscous solvents, these compounds can populate a twisted intramolecular charge transfer state which deactivates nonradiatively, successfully suppressing fluorescence emission. Solution experiments with diesel/kerosene blends showed a good linear correlation between the fluorescence intensity of the probe molecules and the diesel fraction of the blend. The dyes have been immobilized on paper, retaining their fluorescence behavior, i.e., negligible emission in the presence of nonviscous organic solvents and increasing fluorescence when the environment is increasingly viscous. When the impregnated paper is devised as a test strip, the latter is compatible with a newly designed smartphone reader system, which allows in-the-field measurements. The method can safely detect the presence of kerosene in diesel at ≥7%, which competes favorably with current standard methods for the detection of diesel adulteration.