Detection of ethanol in alcoholic beverages or vapor phase using fluorescent molecules embedded in a nanofibrous polymer

Masaaki Akamatsu, Taizo Mori, Ken Okamoto, Hirokazu Komatsu, Ken Kumagai, Seimei Shiratori, Masaki Yamamura, Tatsuya Nabeshima, Hideki Sakai, Masahiko Abe, Jonathan P. Hill, Katsuhiko Ariga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


An alcohol sensor was developed using the solid-state fluorescence emission of terphenyl-ol (TPhOH) derivatives. Admixtures of TPhOH and sodium carbonate exhibited bright sky-blue fluorescence in the solid state upon addition of small quantities of ethanol. A series of terphenol derivatives was synthesized, and the effects of solvent polarities and the structures of these π-conjugated systems on their fluorescence were systematically investigated by using fluorescence spectroscopy. In particular, π-extended TPhOHs and TPhOHs containing electron-withdrawing groups exhibited significant solvatochromism, and fluorescence colors varied from blue to red. Detection of ethanol contents in alcohol beverages (detection limit ∼ 5 v/v %) was demonstrated using different TPhOHs revealing the effect of molecular structure on sensing properties. Ethanol contents in alcoholic beverages could be estimated from the intensity of the fluorescence elicited from the TPhOHs. Moreover, when terphenol and Na2CO3 were combined with a water-absorbent polymer, ethanol could be detected at lower concentrations. Detection of ethanol vapor (8 v/v % in air) was also accomplished using a nanofibrous polymer scaffold as the immobilized sensing film.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6189-6194
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 25
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol
  • composite
  • fluorometric detection
  • nanofiber
  • phenol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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