Centre Technology Transfer CITTRU

A new method of mercury(II) ion detection

Posted by Centre Technology Transfer CITTRUResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Poland

Summary of the technology

The subject of the offer is an innovative nano-sized mercury(II) ion detector of a high sensitivity, which enables to perform the out of lab measurements (in a mobile manner). Applications: environmental, industrial and biomedical analytics

Description of the technology

Mercury(II) ion detection

Mercury is a seriously dangerous element present in the Earth's atmosphere as well as inland and sea waters in both, metallic and ionic form. Mercury belongs to the most toxic heavy metals, that affect adversely the environmental balance and human physiological processes as well. Because of the extremely high ecotoxicity and the ability of mercury to accumulate in living organisms (about 75-80% of the adopted dose accumulates in the human body), the reduction of its emission is one of the top priority needs from the point of human health. The threats related to the utilizing and propagation of mercury in the biosphere underlie the increasingly restrictive requirements that force to reduce or (if possible) even eliminate this metal from numerous practical applications and technological processes. Nevertheless, mercury is still fairly widely used and, as a consequence, it is constantly present in the environment. The current worldwide legal regulations regarding the reduction of mercury emission necessitate the monitoring of the profiles of its concentration in the environment, which implies the need to develop more and more accurate and versatile methods for determination of mercury in industrial, environmental and biomedical samples. Despite the possibility of determining of low concentrations of mercury by means of the conventional analytical methods (i.e. ASA, ESA, ICP-MS), these techniques have many drawbacks, such as complicated and time-consuming sample preparation, lack of apparatus mobility, and the necessity of engagement of highly-qualified staff. The present invention allows to eliminate these problems and exhibits a high analytical sensitivity.


The construction of a hybrid Hg2+ ion sensor is based on the use of quantum dots surrounded by a polymer layer. The sensor allows the detection of mercury ion at very low concentrations (even below 10-15 mol/L). Additionally, the sensor is characterized by high selectivity towards Hg2+ in the presence of other ions. The detection of Hg2+ is manifested by the appearance of a physical effect - the intensity of fluorescence of quantum dots at the wavelength of 550-560 nm is strongly amplified.

The essential advantages of the invention are the following:

• the ability to determine mercury(II) ion in a minimally-invasive way, the analysis are effortless, requiring no specialistic knowledge in the analytical chemistry and equipment skills;

• the possibility of detection of very low concentrations of mercury ions (less than 10-15 mol/L);

• the ability to analyze the mercury(II) ions in the presence of other heavy metal ions (high selectivity; lack of interference effects);

• the higher sensitivity of mercury ion detection compared to currently used methods.


The offered solution is subject of a patent application. Further development of the invention is performed at the Faculty of Chemistry, Jagiellonian University. Currently, the Centre for Innovation, Technology Transfer and University Development (CITTRU) is looking for entities interested in licensing and application of the technology described above.

Intellectual property status

Patent already applied for

Patent application number : P 423126

Where : Poland

Current development status

Experimental technologies

Desired business relationship

Technology selling

Patent licensing

Technology development

Technology Owner

Centre Technology Transfer CITTRU

Technology Transfer Office

Additional information (attached documents)

Related keywords

  • Detection and Analysis methods
  • Measurement and Detection of Pollution
  • Measurements and Standards
  • Measurement Tools
  • pollution
  • mercury
  • water pollution

About Centre Technology Transfer CITTRU

Technology Transfer Office from Poland

Centre for Technology Transfer CITTRU is a part of Jagiellonian University, whose role is to promote university research, to support innovation and to create cooperation with the business. CITTRU main task is to offer the scientific achievements of the Jagiellonian University in the market by providing legal protection, licensing, sale of intellectual property rights, creation of academic business, coordination of company-ordered research projects, etc. Currently promoted technologies are mainly focused on new materials science, chemistry, pharma and medical technology.

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