Micro and nanoplastics sensor

It’s a system to identify and quantify micro and nanoplastics, favoring both the detection and the quantification in water or biological samples, in order to reduce environmental pollution.

Title of the patent Micro and nanoplastics luminescent indicator sensor
Thematic area Chemistry and biotechnology
Ownership Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna
Inventors Damiano Genovese, Luca Prodi, Enrico Rampazzo, Nelsi Zaccheroni
Protection Italy (with possibility to extend internationally)
Licensing status Available for licensing agreements
Keywords Sensor, Microplastics. Nanoplastics, Environmental pollution, Toxological analysis
Filed on Jan 23, 2020

The issue of the dispersion of micro and nanoplastics in the environment has become very topical in recent years, with a growing attention of public opinion towards the possibility of identifying and recovering these materials. At present there is a strong environmental emergency linked to micro and nanoplastics, as well as a great need to understand its toxicological effects.

The very recent awareness of the high degree of pollution - especially of water – originating from micro- and nano-plastics and of the possible harmful effects on living species, is pushing to find sensitive and simple methods for the recognition, visualization and quantification of these materials, both in water and in biological samples. Currently there is no method that presents all the necessary features to satisfy these requirements.

The invention aims to provide a possible answer to the problem of pollution from plastic in the environment.

It's an innovative system that allows the detection and recognition of micro and nanoplastics in the environment, in water or in biological samples, using biocompatible materials that allow a quick and easy identification and potentially quantification of these fragments.

A device based on this technology can allow toxicological and environmental analysis and imaging of micro and nanoplastics both in the water environment and in biological samples, offering, among the possible advantages, a high sensitivity and the possibility to distinguish among different types of material with simple and inexpensive methodologies.


  • High sensitivity of the system to the detection of micro and nanoplastics;
  • The system is simple to realize, biocompatible and low cost;
  • The instruments are widespread and based on consolidated technology;
  • It allows to differentiate between the various types of material.