Korean engineers have created a device for the rapid detection of nanoplastic pollution. Reported by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology.
Plastic waste is a significant environmental problem. Most of its varieties do not decompose under normal conditions, but large particles break up into smaller, microscopic and nanoscopic sizes. Many scientists believe that the abundance of micro- and nanoplastics in drinking water poses a threat to health, but even its detection is a problem due to its small size and concentration.
The device was based on a thin film sandwiched between metal plates to which current was applied. At the same time, Raman spectroscopy was carried out, which makes it possible to analyze the energy difference between incident and scattered light and thus determine the characteristics of molecules. As a result, scientists were able, for example, to detect the presence of 30-nanometer polystyrene particles with a total mass of 10 micrograms. Thus, a process that previously required at least one day took only a few seconds.
The authors hope that this technology will make it possible to effectively control the quality of drinking water without significant material costs.