Smartphone-based fluorescence detection of bisphenol A from water samples

Katherine E. McCracken, Trinny Tat, Veronica Paz, Jeong Yeol Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Bisphenol A (BPA), an emerging environmental contaminant and endocrine disrupting compound, has been observed globally in surface water and waste leachates at concentrations that are hazardous to aquatic life and potentially to humans. Limitations in field monitoring on account of the extensive laboratory infrastructure required for standard BPA detection warrants investigation into portable or handheld sensing platforms. In this work, we evaluated a standalone smartphone-based fluorescence sensing method for identifying BPA from water samples. Toward this goal, we demonstrated the novel application of 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonic acid (HPTS) as a fluorescent probe with suitable specificity to BPA compared to functionally and structurally similar hormone and endocrine disrupting compounds. Using this method, bisphenol A was quantifiable through both standard fluorescence spectroscopy and smartphone detection, with an empirical binding constant of KSV = 2040 M−1 and a direct, unfiltered detection limit of 4.4 μM from unprocessed samples, suitable for waste leachate and industrial samples. Implementation of further digital image processing and smartphone spectroscopy methods may help to lower this detection limit, bearing promise for future direct detection of bisphenol A from wastewater leachate and environmental samples via smartphones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9237-9243
Number of pages7
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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