Researchers at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, recently created fluorescent molecules that can detect metal pollutants in drinking water and waste streams. Researchers say that the molecules, which glow in the presence of some metal pollutants, will help provide earlier warnings for contamination. The color and glow depends on the type and concentration of the metal ions present.
"This research will let us create a sensor that continually measures metal in a sample of water as it flows by, making it easier to respond to any problems more quickly," Paul Savage, associate professor of chemistry, explains. According to Savage, there are plans underway to develop an apparatus to help industrial plants and water treatment facilities to track metal ion concentration in water and waste streams over time.
BYU's work with the molecules was showcased recently in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Organic Chemistry.