Detecting trace of mercury ions in water using photoacoustic method enhanced by gold nanospheres

Qiaozhi He, Qian Zhang, W. Cao, Ting Yin, S. Zhao, Xiaoqia Yin, Hui Zhao, Wei Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A gold nanospheres (Au NSs)-enhanced photoacoustic (PA) system has been developed to detect parts per trillion (ppt)-level mercury ion (Hg2+) in aqueous environments, which combines the advantages of the high sensitivity of PA detection and high extinction coefficient of Au NSs. 4-mercaptophenylboronic acid (MPBA) is used as the aggregation agent to detect Hg2+ by a designed PA system. Experimental results demonstrate a linear relationship between the amplitude of PA signals and logarithmic concentration of Hg2+ in the range of 10 pM-1 μM (R=0.994). The detection limit of this Au NSs-enhanced PA system is 78 pM (16 ppt, S/N=3) with a quick response time of 1 min. This method has excellent selectivity for Hg2+ over other heavy metal ions, alkali, and alkaline earth metal ions. The system is cost-effective and shows a great potential for quick detection of Hg2+ trace in water with very high sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104058
JournalMicrochemical Journal
StatePublished - Nov 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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