Rapid Sensing Device with Graphene Quantum Dots and a Smartphone Readout

Technology Overview

Quantum dots are nanoparticles which have found unique applications such as in imaging, sensing and even computing applications; these stem largely from their unique and tunable electrical and optical properties. Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) have gain considerable interests due to their properties such as large surface to volume ratio, low toxicity, water solubility, controllable fluorescence, high stability against photobleaching. These properties offer benefits over organic dyes and semiconductor QDs. 

In this technology, the use of GQDs embedded medium and a low cost device, turns a smart phone camera into a portable lab. This provides a simple, quick and portable method of quantifying certain analytes reliably, without the need for complex equipment, and is thus of interest in remote settings.

Technology Features & Specifications

The proposed technology is a detection device that uses a smartphone camera to quantify analytes in a given sample. It is a cost effective and simple set-up comprising of:

  • Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) embedded paper strips that function as the sensor
  • A device consisting of ultraviolet LED that is used to excite the GQDs embedded strips that have been exposed to the sample
  • Software that analyses the changes in the luminescence of the exposed GDQs under UV to quantify the analyte concentration


A smartphone camera maybe used to capture the image of the UV-exposed paper strip and to carry out the analysis via the installed software. Alternatively, the GDQs embedded medium is not limited to paper and other formats are feasible.

Potential Applications

Potential applications for this technology may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Analytes sensing
  • GQDs based sensing and detection based applications
  • GQDs based anti-counterfeiting applications

Customer Benefits

  • The proposed device is user-friendly based on widely-used imaging technologies
  • It uses eco-friendly graphene quantum dots rather than heavy metal-based ones
  • It is a versatile technology that has many potential applications
  • As it is a simple set-up, it is of particular interest for use in remote settings where sophisticated instrumentation is not available

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