Carbon monoxide (CO) outcompetes oxygen when binding to the iron center of hemeproteins, leading to a reduction in blood oxygen level and acute poisoning. Harvesting the strong specific interaction between CO and the iron porphyrin provides a highly selective and customizable sensor. We report the development of chemiresistive sensors with voltage-activated sensitivity for the detection of CO comprising iron porphyrin and functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (F-SWCNTs). Modulation of the gate voltage offers a predicted extra dimension for sensing. Specifically, the sensors show a significant increase in sensitivity toward CO when negative gate voltage is applied. The dosimetric sensors are selective to ppm levels of CO and functional in air. UV/Vis spectroscopy, differential pulse voltammetry, and density functional theory reveal that the in situ reduction of FeIII to FeII enhances the interaction between the F-SWCNTs and CO. Our results illustrate a new mode of sensors wherein redox active recognition units are voltage-activated to give enhanced and highly specific responses.
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