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High sensitive sensor for the detection of mercury in water

Current technologies to analize mercury in water are either laboratory tools that need expert personal or portable systems with poor sensitivity.

The new sensor.Scientists at the CSIC’s Science Materials Institute (Spain), at Murcia University (Spain), and at Regensburg University (Germany) have developed an easy to use mercury sensor that can be applied in portable detection systems.

The optical sensor chip can detect very low levels of mercury: it works at picomolar levels, which means a thousand times less than the maximum amount of mercury allowed by European regulations in tap water, established at one part per billion.

It only requires a very small quantity (more or less a spoonful) of the liquid to analyze, and can make possible the precise and in-situ detection of mercury in lakes, rivers or wells.

Results have been published in Chemical Communications.

Selective picomolar detection of mercury(II) using optical sensors. Journal Article César Díez-Gil, Rosario Martínez, Imma Ratera, Thomas Hirsh, Arturo Espinosa, Alberto Tárraga, Pedro Molina, Otto S. Wolfbeis and Jaume Veciana Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 1842-1844 DOI: 10.1039/C0CC04860G,


Departament de Nanociència Molecular i Materials Orgànics (ICMAB-CSIC)

Elemental mercury and inorganic mercury compounds: human health aspects, informe d'experts publicat per l'OMS