Tag: heavy metals

Heavy metals sensor platform developed during the COMMON SENSE project

From left to right: Pablo Fanjul (DropSens), Cesar Fernández (CNM), Martí Gich (NN Group), Carla Navarro (DropSens), Anna Roig (NN Group), Margaret McCaul (DCU)

A sensor platform to detect heavy metals has been developed within the COMMON SENSE project and presented during its final event, last Friday 27th January.

The partners that participated in the development of this sensor platform are Dublin City University (DCU), DropSens, National Center of Microelectronics (CNM-IMB) (CSIC), and the Nanoparticles and Nanocomposites Group (NN) at ICMAB (CSIC)

Highlights of the heavy metals sensor platform (photo):

  • Autonomous system for the detection of cadmium (Cd2+), lead (Pb2+), copper (Cu2+) and mercury (Hg2+) ions at trace level.
  • Modular design.
  • Adjustable flow control for heavy metals detection.
  • No pre-treatment of samples necessary.
  • No pre-concentraton of samples necessary. The sensor directly operates on-site and pre-concentrates the heavy metals on the surface of the electrode.
  • Complete mixing of the sample and buffer in a microfluidic chip.
  • Storage container for reagent waste designed for easy on-site maintenance. 
Heavy metals sensor platform, with a TRL=7

Apart from this sensor, in which the NN Group has participated, the COMMON SENSE project has developed prototypes of other in situ next generation marine monitoring sensors:

  • Microplastics analyser
  • Underwater noise sensor
  • Eutrophication sensor
  • Autonomous pH and pCO2 sensors
  • Innovative temperature and pressure sensors

For more information, please visit the COMMON SENSE project website or contact the leader of the Dissemination and Knowledge Management Work Package, Cliona Ní Cheallachain (cliona@aquatt.ie). 

The COMMON SENSE project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (Ocean 2013-2) under grant agreement no 614155.

Final COMMON SENSE meeting and public event: Next generation sensors for ocean observation.

On Friday, January 27, there will be a public and free event to present the final results of the COMMON SENSE project on “Demonstration of next generation sensors for advanced real-time ocean observation.

This event will closure the COMMON SENSE project, in which the NN group has actively participated in the development of electrochemical sensors that are able to detect different heavy metals simultaneously

  • Date and time:
    Friday, January 27, from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Location: 
    Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona (FNOB)
    1 Moll de Llevant, 08039 Barcelona (View Map)

Martí Gich and Anna Roig will participate in a previous meeting on Thursday, with the project team, and on Friday on the public event. 

Professionals working in the marine environment and citizens curious about the status of our oceans are invited!

The COMMON SENSE project is creating prototypes of next generation in-situ marine sensors to deliver vital information about the oceans. The project directly responds to the requirement for integrated and effective data acquisition systems by developing innovative sensors that will contribute to our understanding of how the marine environment functions. In doing so, COMMON SENSE results can support the implementation of European Union marine policies such as the Marine Strategy Framework  Directive (MSFD) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

As the COMMON SENSE project comes to a successful conclusion, the results will be presented at this final workshop, along with a demonstration of the novel sensors developed and tested during the project.

The COMMON SENSE sensors need less human operation and intervention than current technologies and create standardised data on eutrophication, underwater noise, heavy metals, and marine litter, with a focus on microplastics. Other important parameters considered are temperature, pressure, pH and pCO2.

Download the program
Register for the event



Martí Gich at the COMMON SENSE 36 Month meeting in Sardinia


Martí Gich is at the COMMON SENSE 36 Month meeting, which will take place in Oristano, Sardinia, on September 29-30. The COMMON SENSE project aims at developing low cost sensors that will revolutionise current marine monitoring strategies.

Please enjoy this short video featuring field testing of COMMON SENSE sensors, which have been testes in various cruises throughout the past year: 

Website of the project: http://www.commonsenseproject.eu/

COMMON SENSE RESULTS: First test of the newly developed heavy metal sensors for Cd and Pb in natural sea water samples


This first test using natural Mediterranean seawater has shown that the method and electrodes worked correctly.

Studies were done at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) in the Aquaria and Experimental Chambers (ZAE) facilities.

The water salinity of the samples was ~38, that is, nearly the highest values (40) that can be found in open seas worldwide. Neither “recent” nor “old” seawater analysed showed significant values of Cd and Pb. However, Cu was detected in the “old” seawater. These results are in accordance to the periodic control analyses carried out in the ZAE.

Laura Asturias (NAPCOM-CSIC) and Jordi Salat (ICM-CSIC)

See complete NOTE: First Tests

New paper accepted in Microchimica Acta

The work has resulted from a collaboration between the ICMAB, the CNM and the company Dropsens.


Screen-printed electrodes made of a bismuth nanoparticle porous carbon nanocomposite material applied to the detection of heavy metals (Pengfei Niu, César  Fernández-Sánchez,* Martí Gich,* Carla Navarro-Hernández, Pablo Fanjul-Bolado, and Anna Roig, Microchimica Acta, Volume 183, Issue 2, pp 617-623). 

This work reports on the simplified fabrication and on the characterization of bismuth-based screen-printed electrodes (SPEs) for use in heavy metal detection. 
A nanocomposite consisting of bismuth nanoparticles and amorphous carbon was synthesized by a combined one-step sol-gel and pyrolysis process and milled down to a specific particle size distribution as required for the preparation of an ink formulation to be used in screen printing. The resulting electrochemical devices were applied to the detection of Pb(II) and Cd(II) ions in water samples.
he porous structure of carbon and the high surface area of the bismuth nanoparticles allow for the detection of Pb(II) and Cd(II) at concentration levels below 4 ppb. The application of the SPEs was demonstrated by quantifying these ions in tap drinking water and wastewater collected from an influent of an urban wastewater treatment plant.


N&N Group and Grup de Transductors Químics (CNM) Collaboration: new paper on heavy metals detection


Electroanalytical Assessment of Heavy Metals in Waters with Bismuth Nanoparticle-Porous Carbon Paste Electrodes

The final version of the paper in Electrochimica Acta is on-line . It will be published in the journal in May. You can download it from the link.  http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1QjGc_JcNCuYR The journal provides free access to the article for almost two months and the article can also be shared during this time.

•A bismuth carbon nanocomposite material prepared by a one-pot sol-gel process.
•Application to the fabrication of a sensor for heavy metal detection in waters.
•Cd, Pb and Ni were measured at concentration levels below the MAC-EQS set by the EU.
•Thorough assessment of the sensor performance in water samples of different origin.


altFirst published results on the electrochemichal sensor for heavy metals project as a part of the PhD thesis of Pengfei that is co-supervised by Martí Gich of our group and Cesar Fernandez-Sanchez of the CNM-CSIC                                           

Facile Synthesis of Porous Bismuth-Carbon Nanocomposites for the Sensitive Detection of Heavy Metals
Marti Gich, Cesar Fernandez-Sanchez, Liviu Cosmin Cotet, Pengfei Niu and Anna Roig  

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013, Accepted Manuscript DOI: 10.1039/C3TA12190A, Paper


Welcome to Pengfei Niu!

Sichuan_University_logoPengfei is a Master Graduate in Polymer Composites from the Univesity of Sichuan in Chengdu (China). He will spend 3 years with us thanks to the financial support of the China Scholarship Council  to complete a Ph.D. working in the development of nanocomposite sensors prepared by Sol-Gel chemistry. We wish him plenty of scientific and personal success.