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New Journal of Chemistry RSC


Urea–calix[4]arenes 1 and 2 were synthesised and incorporated into ISE membranes for assessment as sensors for inorganic anions in water. 1 revealed a strong response to all anions following the Hofmeister selectivity order. For ISEs of 2, the response to a portion of the anion series was suppressed, increasing the margin of selectivity of nitrate over chloride, a common interferant of nitrate in fresh and marine water samples. The performance of ISEs containing 2 was compared to commercially available alkylammonium nitrate ion-exchange salts used for nitrate sensing. Our ISEs performed favourably in terms of sensitivity, linear range and LOD performing an order of magnitude better than commercially available nitrate ISEs. The pre-conditioning of ISEs in non primary chloride salt was essential for obtaining these results.