Claudiu T. Lungu
University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
This study was aimed to find an efficient sorbent for use with our novel desorption technique, photothermal desorption (PTD) which thermally desorbs an analyte by applying a pulse of light. Two types of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), arc discharge (AD) and high-pressure carbon monoxide (HiPco), were used to fabricate buckypapers (BPs) and they were examined
as a potential sorbent for PTD. Upon fabrication (AD BP and HiPco BP), heat treatment was administered to improve adsorption properties. Adsorption properties, including Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area and pore size, of the heat-treated BPs were characterized and then tested for PTD. Toluene was used as a representative volatile organic compound (VOC) and a photographic grade xenon flash lamp was used for PTD. As a result, both types of BPs showed a large surface area (933 – 970 m²/g) and small mean pore diameter (5.6 – 5.9 nm). The difference in the recovery rate between AD and HiPco BPs was statistically significant (p < .0007 – .0256) AD BP having the higher recovery rate (0.016 – 0.431 %) at all energy levels examined (1.84 – 7.37 J), indicating that AD BP is a viable sorbent for VOC sampling and analysis using PTD.