In the present work, fullerene nanorods (C60NRs) were synthesized by liquid-liquid interface and characterized using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, field emission electron microscopy (FESEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. The C60NRs were covalently immobilized on the surface of a glassy carbon electrode (GCE) using surface bound diazonium salts as an interface. This method involves electrografting of the p-nitrophenyl diazonium salt at the GCE to give the nitrophenyl-modified electrode (GCE-Ph-NO2). The nitrophenyl groups of the GCE-Ph-NO2 modified electrode were reduced to phenylamine groups (GCE-Ph-NH2) using an aqueous solution of the sodium borohydride/gold-polyaniline (NaBH4/Au-PANI) system. The C60NRs were covalently immobilized on the surface of GCE-Ph-NH2via an N-H addition reaction across the π-bond of C60. The functionalized fullerene nanorod (C60NRs-NH-Ph-GCE) modified electrode was electrochemically reduced in 1.0 M potassium hydroxide (KOH) to produce a highly conductive electrochemically reduced fullerene nanorod (ERC60NRs-NH-Ph-GCE) sensor. The developed sensor shows high electrocatalytic activity for the detection of ethylparaben (EP) over a concentration range from 0.01-0.52 μM with a detection limit (LOD) of 3.8 nM (0.0038 μM). In addition, the ERC60NRs-NH-Ph-GCE sensor was also tested for EP in real sample analysis using the standard addition method where the total concentration of EP was found to be 0.011 μM (0.12%) within the permissible limit of 0.19%.
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