The present invention allows the determination of trace levels of ionic substances in a sample solution (ions, metal ions, and other electrically charged molecules) by coupling a separation method, such as liquid chromatography, with ion selective electrodes (ISE) prepared so as to allow detection at activities below 10.sup.-6 M. The separation method distributes constituent molecules into fractions due to unique chemical and physical properties, such as charge, hydrophobicity, specific binding interactions, or movement in an electrical field. The separated fractions are detected by means of the ISE(s). These ISEs can be used singly or in an array. Accordingly, modifications in the ISEs are used to permit detection of low activities, specifically, below 10.sup.-6 M, by using low activities of the primary analyte (the molecular species which is specifically detected) in the inner filling solution of the ISE. Arrays constructed in various ways allow flow-through sensing for multiple ions.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The technology developed under this patent was developed under two Federally sponsored contracts: Perchlorate Monitoring by Portable Sensing Technology. Air Force Contract #F08637-99-C-6013 (P. I. Richard H. Smith, Ph.D.). Real-time Array Sensor System for Field Monitoring of Metal Ions. Department of Energy Contract #DE-FG02-00ER83019 (P. I. Richard H. Smith, Ph.D.).