Colored thin films for specific metal ion detection. Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper describes the investigation of chitosan and poly(allylamine) (PAH) for the creation of a multi-film, color-based dipstick for the detection of metal ions in solution. Thin, colored films of chitosan and PAH cross-linked with hexamethylene 1,6-di(aminocarboxysulfonate) (HDACS) are created where color is due to film thickness and optical interference effects. The films are investigated for their ability to selectively detect aqueous metal ions via changes in thickness and/or color. Chitosan-HDACS films were selective for Cr(VI) over all other metal ions tested including Cr(acac)3 and Cr(NO3)3 x 9H2O, and PAH-HDACS films were selective for Cu(II) and Cu(I) salts over all other metal ions tested. The irreversible, selective changes due to metal ion solutions were not caused by varying the pH. Potomac River water was also tested using the two films, with results indicating the presence of Cu(II) in the aqueous sample.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

author list (cited authors)

  • Schauer, C. L., Chen, M., Price, R. R., Schoen, P. E., & Ligler, F. S.

complete list of authors

  • Schauer, Caroline L||Chen, Mu-San||Price, Ronald R||Schoen, Paul E||Ligler, Frances S

publication date

  • August 2004