Easily observe harmful substances that cause environmental pollution using your mobile phone camera

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DGIST physical chemistry professor Park Jin-hee and his research team have developed a technology that can easily detect dangerous chemicals. Harmful substances can be detected by analyzing color changes using a mobile phone camera, so it is expected to be used in a variety of applications, such as detecting environmental pollution and preventing gas leaks.

“Volatile organic compounds” are harmful chemicals that are widely present in the environment. They enter the environment through factory gases, indoor air, and other sources and can cause pollution and, in some cases, disease. Therefore, it is important to detect them quickly. Traditional detection methods are expensive or can only detect a limited number of chemicals.

To solve this problem, Professor Park Jin-hee and his team developed a sensor that uses a material called an “organometallic framework” to induce color changes. The sensor was created using six different solvents and can distinguish between 14 volatile organic compounds and water. To make the color change visible to the naked eye, the team developed a large-area film that is low-cost and easy to manufacture.

By analyzing color changes using a mobile phone, it is possible to qualitatively and quantitatively detect low concentrations of harmful compounds that are difficult to detect with the human nose. It exhibits excellent performance even in high humidity environments, so it can be used for a variety of applications such as environmental pollution detection and gas leak prevention.

“The sensor we developed has great commercial potential as it operates without power supply and can be implemented at low cost,” Professor Lee said. “With these sensors, we look forward to securing source technology to develop sensors for a variety of purposes, including environmental pollution detection, terrorism prevention, and safety incident prevention.”

The research will be published in a journal advanced materials.

For more information:
Kangwoo Jin et al., Comprehensive qualitative and quantitative colorimetric sensing of volatile organic compounds using single-layer metal-organic framework films; advanced materials (2023). DOI: 10.1002/adma.202309570

Magazine information:
advanced materials

Provided by: DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

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