A SPECIALLY equipped smartphone could be used to detect mercury contamination.
The research conducted by Professor Aydogan Ozcan and his group at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has resulted in a smart phone capable of quantifying mercury (II) ions in water samples with parts per billion level of sensitivity.
The team integrated an opto-mechanical device to the built-in smart phone camera, allowing the phone to digitally calculate the concentration of mercury.
The add-on device in question was a plasmonic gold nanoparticle (Au NP) and aptamer based colorimetric transmission assay implemented in disposable test tubes.
The device uses a two-color ratiometric method using LEDs at 523 and 625 nm. The smart phone camera then captures the transmission image from the device, which is processed by a custom application on the phone.
The researches claim the advancement represent significant progress compared to today’s massive and costly analytical equipment. The extended mercury-detect smart phone is more portable, faster, and allows information to be quickly and cheaply transmitted from the field.
This research study entitled, “Detection and Spatial Mapping of Mercury Contamination in Water Samples Using a Smart-Phone” is published in ACS Nano and appears in the Nature's research highlights section.