Sensor for faster, cheaper, and easier determination of dioxins in the environment

Reference number 2018-03308
Coordinator Linköpings universitet - Deparment of Physics, Chemistry and Biology
Funding from Vinnova SEK 485 000
Project duration December 2018 - November 2019
Status Ongoing
Venture The strategic innovation programme for graphene
Call 2017-05429-en

Purpose and goal

Dioxins, a prioritized health concern in the EU, are extremely toxic Persistent Organic Pollutants. This project aims at developing a portable instrument for on-site analysis of dioxins in water and soil. This is particularly challenging as dioxins are toxic at very low concentrations, putting extreme requirements on the detection technology. We believe that the high sensitivity of graphene makes this possible. The final goal of the project is to demonstrate proof-of-concept of the possibility to detect dioxins using graphene sensors with tailor-made sensing layers.

Expected results and effects

Dioxin concentrations in certain foodstuffs, like fatty Baltic Sea fish, surpass EU legal limits. Today’s methods for dioxin analysis require sophisticated instruments, are time consuming and costly with prices around 500€ per sample. A portable sensor capable of easy and rapid detection of dioxins in water, soil, and food samples at a significantly lower cost would be a breakthrough, enabling more thorough analysis of dioxins in foodstuffs and animal feed, and facilitating dioxin monitoring of known emission sources as well as mapping of unknown sources.

Planned approach and implementation

Our graphene on SiC sensor platform will be adapted for liquid phase detection using 3D printed microfluidics. Dioxins are benzene derivatives, and we have developed a sensor capable of detecting trace amounts of benzene in gas-phase using a nanoparticle-graphene hybrid material. A similar approach will be used here to generate sensitivity to dioxins. Envic-Sense has developed FREEDD, an instrument for detection of heavy metals in water and soil. The graphene sensors will be integrated with FREEDD to demonstrate proof-of-concept of a portable dioxin detection system.

The project description has been provided by the project members themselves and the text has not been looked at by our editors.