Electrochemical sensor for detecting water pollutants

  • Alfonso from ICMAB-CSIC
  • From Spain
  • Responsive
  • Patents for licensing

Summary of the technology

A new disposable electrochemical sensor for the on-site detection of water pollutants. It is a sample-to-result device that does not require manual sample pretreatment.

Details of the Technology Offer

Water pollution is an increasing global concern that damages human health, aquatic ecosystems, and economic growth.

Frequent monitoring of water is currently unfeasible due to the complexity of the processes and equipment needed. For instance, if we consider Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), a key parameter for the evaluation of water quality, state-of-the art analytical methods require the use of hazardous materials, sample pre-processing and must be done by skilled technicians. New approaches using electrochemical methods determine water pollutants in a faster and more user-friendly manner. However, different manual steps are still required, making in-field testing less convenient and sensor fabrication more difficult to be scaled up.

CSIC has developed a new screen-printed electrochemical sensor using tailor-made functional materials. The sensor is portable, just requires sample addition and is user-friendly. Professionals without specific training can detect water pollutants on-site with no need for manual sample pretreatment. The resulting sensor approaches have been applied to the detection of different contaminants such as heavy metals, COD or halogenated compounds.

Current development status

Laboratory prototypes

Desired business relationship

Patent licensing

Technology development


Water pollutants detection

Intellectual property status

  • Patent already applied for
  • Patent application number :EP21383025

Related Keywords

  • Protecting Man and Environment
  • Environment
  • Measurement and Detection of Pollution
  • Water Management
  • Water Resources Management
  • Sustainability


The Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona​ (ICMAB) is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence research center which beongs to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and is governed by a Foundation board.

The Institute was set up in 1987 and subsequently, in April 1991, the laboratories were opened at the Campus of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). It is part of the Barcelona Nanotechnology Cluster in Bellaterra.

The aim of the institute is to carry out research aimed at obtaining and characterising materials of industrial interest. Its activities are based on the synthesis, preparation, crystallization and characterisation of functional high-performance materials and nanomaterials, which in some cases have led to the construction of device prototypes based on these materials.

Studies and improvements both of conventional materials, as well as new molecular, supramolecular, magnetic, superconducting and porous materials etc. are being developed through projects and research contracts. There are currently 9 ERC funded projects at ICMAB.

To develop these activities, at present there are 57 permanent staff among researchers and back up personnel together with 80 non-permanent staff divided into eight researgh groups, one general unit service, and one unit of Scientific and Technological Services.

In 2016 the ICMAB reached the 100.000 citations, and it is currently the first centre, among the CSIC centres, in the Nature Index. Each permanent researcher publishes close to 5 articles per year in Journals with a very high impact factor.

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