doi:10.1038/nindia.2013.59 Published online 30 April 2013
Researchers have discovered an environmentally friendly method to fabricate an optical sensor that can detect traces of hydrogen peroxide, a chemical widely used in various industries1. The sensor was made from silver nanoparticles synthesized using locust bean gum polysaccharide.
Exposure to hydrogen peroxide can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, respiratory airway and skin. Drinking concentrated hydrogen peroxide can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal effects. It is thus necessary to constantly monitor hydrogen peroxide levels in various environmental samples. Most techniques used for detecting hydrogen peroxide are complex and time consuming. Nanoparticles can be used to fabricate hydrogen-peroxide sensors, but nanoparticle synthesis requires toxic chemicals.
To devise an ecofriendly way to make nanoparticles for sensors, the researchers reacted locust bean gum polysaccharide with silver nitrate solution. The synthesized silver nanoparticles had sizes between 18 nm and 51 nm. The researchers used these nanoparticles to produce an optical-fibre-based sensor and then tested its efficacy in detecting hydrogen peroxide in solution.
The study found that the sensor could detect extremely low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. The researchers say that the sensor is stable, portable and inexpensive. They say that the method used to synthesize nanoparticles is a green process that is promising for other industrial applications.