Advancing Electrochemical Sensors for Rapid Heavy Metal Detection

PusanImage Source: Pusan


Pusan National University researchers explored miniaturized electrochemical sensors for swift heavy metal (HM) detection. Reviewing recent developments, they highlighted advancements in portable sensors like screen-printed and paper-based electrodes. Despite successes, challenges persist—selectivity issues and interference remain. However, innovations, including lab-on-a-chip solutions and wearable sensors, promise a transformative future in HM sensing.


Heavy metals (HMs) present serious health threats, demanding swift on-site detection. The recent strides in miniaturized electrochemical sensing offer prospects for faster and more precise detection of ultra-trace HM levels, crucial for environmental assessment and health screenings.

Led by Professor Seung-Cheol Chang, the team delved into electrochemical sensors' recent advancements, emphasizing the need for easily deployable, cost-effective sensors for rapid on-site detection. Dr. Ramalingam Manikandan, the study's lead author, contributed significantly to this comprehensive review published in Coordination Chemistry Reviews.

Their review spotlighted screen-printed and paper-based electrodes as cost-efficient, time-saving sensors, significantly reducing sample amounts and electrolytes. Nanomaterial-coated sensors displayed high sensitivity and specificity, facilitating accurate ultra-trace HM detection across diverse environmental conditions.

However, limitations persist, notably in selectivity, interference, and sensor longevity due to encounters with dissolved oxygen species. The team underscored the necessity for portable lab-on-a-chip systems and scalable production of disposable and wearable electrochemical sensors.

Prof. Chang emphasized the challenging road to commercializing academia-driven innovations, aligning them with rigorous validation techniques for tangible impact.


This study illuminates the present electrochemical sensor landscape, serving as both a resource and an inspiration for future research endeavors.

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