New polymer sensors will detect even small amounts of toxins in drinking water

In the modern not a very good ecological situation, to find clean drinking water – not an easy task as it seems. Of course, there are many ways of purification of water from harmful impurities, but not all of them (not always) you can filter, and many toxic compounds are harmful even in very small doses. Thus, according to some reports, even in the rain and artesian waters are harmful additives. It is therefore important not only to establish cleaning methods, but also methods for detection of toxins. And this can help a new invention of scientists from Belgium and Germany.

According to the editors of Talanta, responsible for the development of a group of researchers from Ghent University and the technical University of Munich. According to European standards, water is considered “contaminated” in that case, if there is more than 1 nanograms of benzopyrene. It is formed by the combustion of fossil fuels and is very soluble in water. It is on the search for this connection and focused the work of scientists.

To create the sensor used a mixture of polymers created using molecular imprinting. This method of obtaining materials based on the polymerization of functional monomers in the presence of the intentionally added molecules. The resulting polymer has pores of a few nanometers, which are the only molecules of a certain shape and size. That is the shape of the molecule benzpyrene and repeat the pores in the material. Then the resulting polymer on the gold electrode for the capacitive sensor. After you enable the just have to wait. If the water is contaminated – there is a change in the capacitance of the capacitor. As control was used the same electrode, which was applied substance, capable of “catching” benzopyrene. In the end, the sensitivity of the new sensor was several times higher.

However, there is a small catch: polymer sensor responds to the presence of a similar structure to the benzopyrene hydrocarbons. But the researchers themselves do not consider it a problem, because the presence of any substance automatically makes the water polluted. So it needs to be cleaned, regardless of what impurities discovered in it.

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