Researchers in Nanjing have discovered a new method for detecting fluoride in water which means the element can be seen with the naked eye.
Using a ruthenium compound, scientists at the State Key Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry have developed a photoactive ruthenium bipyridine segment which changes colour from orange to blue when it bonds with fluoride.
The development, which produces a colour change in the water that can be seen with the naked eye, is important because it enables very straightforward detection of fluoride in water.
Detecting fluoride is currently in high demand because of its importance in water supplies, but also because of the dangers it poses if given in too high doses, such as fluorosis.
By enabling the level of fluoride to be easily measured simply by looking at the water, it is hoped that dangerously high levels of fluoride in water supplies can be easily avoided.
The scientists are now preparing to develop the sensor as a test paper similar to pH paper, thereby avoiding the expensive and cumbersome spectroscopic instruments which are currently used, explains the Royal Society of Chemistry.