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Nanomaterial-based optical sensors for mercury ions

Ding, Yangjun, Wang, Shasha, Li, Jinhua, Chen, Lingxin
Trends in analytical chemistry 2016 v.82 pp. 175-190
Raman spectroscopy, colorimetry, cost effectiveness, fluorescence, heavy metals, human health, ions, mercury, toxicity
As one of the most toxic heavy metals, mercury ion (Hg²⁺) has become a concern focus for its severe threats to environment and human health. As a result, it is of great importance to develop novel methods to realize the recognition and quantification of Hg²⁺. The past decades witness the development of nanomaterial-based optical sensors for Hg²⁺ detection, showing the benefits of simplicity, rapidity, high sensitivity and selectivity, and cost-effectiveness. The reported methods have allowed the detectability down to nanomolar concentrations or much lower levels, and proved their practical applications for detecting and quantifying Hg²⁺ in synthetic solutions or natural water samples. In this review, we summarize the published innovations in nanomaterial-based optical sensors for the detection of Hg²⁺ according to different sensing strategies, including colorimetric, fluorescent and surface enhanced Raman scattering detection. Moreover, some challenges and significant attempts related to these methods are also discussed.