Superfund Research Program
Plasmonic Sensor and Field Monitor for Mercury
Project Leader: Jay James
Grant Number: R44ES032383
Funding Period: Phase II: September 2022 - August 2023
The research team will develop a highly portable monitor for direct measurements of mercury in water and air. Gold nanoparticle-based plasmonic sensing is low-cost, sensitive, and ideal for portable applications. The strong absorbance peak in visible light from localized surface plasmon resonance and the stability of gold material make them ideal for plasmonic sensing. The researchers will apply their experience and intellectual property from developing plasmonic mercury sensors to make a miniaturized plasmonic detector that will be incorporated into a robust and simple field monitor. Extensive testing of the stability, sensitivity, and robustness of the technology will be completed throughout the course of the project. The initial feasibility of the device will be demonstrated for index of refraction sensitivity and mercury monitoring. The development of such a unique device will benefit all parties concerned with mercury contamination and exposure. Mercury monitoring costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year across diverse scientific, industrial, and regulatory groups. The fundamental issue these groups address is protecting human health, and the environment, from the risks of mercury pollution.