Rapid Sensing of Toxic Metals with a New Hybrid Inorganic Material (HIM) Through pH Changes


Lehigh University has developed a toxic metal detection device for use with potentially contaminated water. The sensor uses hybrid inorganic materials for simple and quick detection of heavy metals. The technology is essential for a number of applications, such as mining frac water, remote testing for poorly accessible regions and is particularly important due to the increasing global threat of heavy metal contamination in water. Heavy metal environmental pollution leads to anthropogenic activities. This technology is meant to reduce the reliance upon expensive and time consuming laboratory testing by ensuring only contamination positive samples are sent to the laboratory.


Lehigh Tech ID#0052407-01



Water treatment technologies encompass a billion dollar market, fostered by government agencies worldwide requiring sample tests of water quality and the growing concern of environmental contamination. The biggest demand is for inexpensive, easy to use portable water testing devices, with a market size of about $400 million. This appears to be the greatest market opportunity for companies wishing to expand their product offerings. [1]

[1] “Water Testing; Pass or Fail.” Global Water Intelligence web site. http://www.globalwaterintel.com/archive/10/6/market-insight/water-testing-pass-or-fail.html (accessed January 13, 2012),



Lehigh University is ultimately looking to out-license this technology, but is also interest in co-development opportunities.

App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Utility United States 12/602,523 8,187,890 12/1/2009 5/29/2012 12/20/2029
Energy and Environment
For Information, Contact:
Rick Smith
Lehigh University
Arup Sengupta
Prasun Chatterjee
Environmental Remediation
Heavy Metals
Pollution Control