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Non-invasive Formaldehyde Sensor


Recently, the Nanomaterials and Nanoelectronics Laboratory, Department of Physics, Guwahati University, Assam has developed a cost-effective formalin sensor that can effectively detect the presence of formalin in adulterated fishes.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Non-invasive Formaldehyde Sensor: Revolutionizing Detection Technology
  2. Formaldehyde: A Pungent, Industrial Gas

Non-invasive Formaldehyde Sensor: Revolutionizing Detection Technology

Sensor Composition:

  • Materials Used: Tin oxide-reduced graphene oxide composite (rGO-SnO2).

Key Components:

  • Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) for detecting various toxic gases and VOCs.
  • Tin oxide (SnO2) known for formaldehyde detection due to high stability and sensitivity.

Synthesis Process:

  • Wet chemical processing of Graphene oxide (GO).
  • Synthesis of rGO-SnO2 composite through a hydrothermal route followed by calcination.
Sensor Characteristics:
  • Effectiveness: Tin oxide decorated with reduced graphene oxide.
  • Detection: Efficient sensing of formaldehyde vapour at room temperature.
  • Stability: Long-term stability with a low detection limit.
  • Application: Non-invasive detection of formalin adulteration in fishes.
Comparison with Existing Sensors:
  • Commercial Sensors: Primarily electrochemical or colorimetric.
  • Issues: Expensive, invasive, and face challenges in low-level and selective detection.
Significance of the New Sensor:
  • 2D Materials Advantage: Leveraging 2D materials for gas sensors enhances the detection of toxic vapours at room temperature.
  • Potential Impact: Detection of formalin evaporation from adulterated food products, particularly in the fish industry.
  • Support: Research supported by DST-PURSE (Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence).

Formaldehyde: A Pungent, Industrial Gas

  • Form: Colourless.
  • Odor: Pungent.
  • Industrial Use: Integral in various industrial processes.
  • Food Industry: Used as a preservative, notably in fish preservation in developing nations.
Industrial Significance:
  • Preservative Role: Utilized for its preservative properties, extending the shelf life of certain food products.
  • Versatility: Employed in diverse industrial applications owing to its unique chemical properties.
Health Implications:
  • Exposure Concerns: Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can have adverse health effects.
  • Respiratory Irritant: Known for its irritating effect on the respiratory system.
Global Usage:
  • Widespread: Found in various industrial and consumer products globally.
  • Concerns: The use of formaldehyde in certain applications raises health and safety concerns, necessitating accurate detection methods.
Detection Importance:
  • Adulteration Alert: Critical in identifying formalin adulteration, particularly in the fish industry.
  • Safety Assurance: Ensures compliance with safety standards and regulations in various sectors.

February 2024