Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New system to detect mercury in water systems

Date:
July 25, 2014
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
A new ultra-sensitive, low-cost and portable system for detecting mercury in environmental water has been developed by researchers. "The promising sensing performance of this system along with its cost-competiveness and portability make it an excellent potential alternative to current analytical techniques," says the project's leader. "This technique could provide the basis for future point-of-analysis systems for monitoring water quality on site and may help implement better monitoring processes around the world."

A new ultra-sensitive, low-cost and portable system for detecting mercury in environmental water has been developed by University of Adelaide researchers.

Published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, the research team outlined its innovative optical sensing system suitable for detecting low levels of mercury at the site of interest.

"Mercury has been accumulating in the natural environment since the start of industrialization and there are worldwide concerns about potential human health and environmental effects," says project leader Dr Abel Santos, Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow with the University's School of Chemical Engineering.

"Recently, these concerns have seen the introduction of a global convention aimed at controlling, monitoring and reducing mercury pollution at a world scale.

"There are current systems capable of monitoring mercury at trace levels, but they are huge machines that can't be easily moved, are very expensive and complicated to use and require comprehensive training. Samples also require chemical treatment before analysis.

"Our system is very cost-competitive, only as big as a mobile phone and easy to use. With very basic training, someone could take it to a river or lake and do a mercury reading on the spot."

The project is a collaboration between the Losic Nano Research group in the School of Chemical Engineering and University Rovira i Virgili in Spain, and most of the experimental work has been carried out by PhD candidate Tushar Kumeria. The team has engineered a nanoporous material called nanoporous anodic alumina to make a special structure called a rugate filter.

The surface of the filter has been modified to make it selective to mercury ions. As water flows through the pores of the filter, the mercury ions become attached to the surface. An optical system -- reflection spectroscopy -- measures the amount of mercury present.

A range of tests have shown the sensor can detect mercury at levels of 200 parts per billion in a complex mixture of other metal ions and environmental samples. Continued work will seek to enhance the optical signals for even higher sensitivity.

"The promising sensing performance of this system along with its cost-competiveness and portability make it an excellent potential alternative to current analytical techniques," says Dr Santos. "This technique could provide the basis for future point-of-analysis systems for monitoring water quality on site and may help implement better monitoring processes around the world."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tushar Kumeria, Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Abel Santos, Josep Ferrι-Borrull, Lluνs F. Marsal, Dusan Losic. Nanoporous Anodic Alumina Rugate Filters for Sensing of Ionic Mercury: Toward Environmental Point-of-Analysis Systems. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2014; 140724090802003 DOI: 10.1021/am502882d

Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "New system to detect mercury in water systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140725110710.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2014, July 25). New system to detect mercury in water systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140725110710.htm
University of Adelaide. "New system to detect mercury in water systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140725110710.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins