Name: Zachary Ellis
Additional Authors:  Reem Khan, Dr. Silvana Andreescu
Major/Area of Study/Graduate Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Silvana Andreescu
In recent years there has been emerging concern surrounding the wide group (>3000) of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Since their discovery, PFAS have been implemented in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products due to their incredibly high physical and chemical stability. Dubbed “forever chemicals”, they have an unfortunate tendency to accumulate in biological systems. They have also been linked to a wide array of human conditions and diseases, from cancer to Parkinson’s. Current environmental advisory regulates concentrations of particularly harmful PFAS variants to concentrations as low as 0.7 PPT, limiting the use of conventional analytical techniques. The established method of Solid-Phase Extraction (SPE) followed by LC-MS/MS, is expensive (~300$ per sample) and has no viability for point-of-care detection. However, various electrochemical methods for detection of PFAS show promise because they are inexpensive, highly sensitive, and are portable enough for in-situ PFAS sensing. In this study, we hone electrochemical detection of different PFAS species with Differential Pulse Voltammetry (DPV) in the presence of Cu(II) ions in an acetate buffer. In the presence of PFAS, a significant drop in current has been observed, that could be due to the possible complexation of Cu ions with PFAS. We hope to provide insight into Cu(II) ion interactions with PFAS and provide a path for inquiry into the use of other ions for PFAS detection.