Microchimica Acta

, Volume 126, Issue 3–4, pp 177–192 | Cite as

Optical sensors for determination of heavy metal ions

  • Ines Oehme
  • Otto S. Wolfbeis
Fundamental Review


A review is given on optical means for single shot testing (“probing”) as well as continuous monitoring (“sensing”) of heavy metal ions (HMs). Following an introduction into indicator based approaches, we discuss the types of indicator dyes and polymeric supports used, as well as existing sensing schemes for HMs. The wealth of information is compiled in the form of tables and critically reviewed. Notwithstanding the tremendous work performed so far, it is obvious that still severe limitations do exist in terms of selectivity, limits of detection, dynamic ranges, applicability to specific problems, and reversibility. On the other hand, such sensors have found — and will find — their application whenever rapid and cost-effective testing is required, where personnel is scarce or unskilled, and in field tests. Despite their limitations, the number of such sensors (and of irreversible “probes”) for HMs is likely to increase in future.

Key words

optical sensors heavy metal sensors photometry indicators polymers for sensors 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ines Oehme
    • 1
  • Otto S. Wolfbeis
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Organic ChemistryKarl-Franzens University GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and BiosensorsUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgFederal Republic of Germany

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