Microchimica Acta

, 186:126 | Cite as

Nanoparticle- and microparticle-based luminescence imaging of chemical species and temperature in aquatic systems: a review

  • Maria Moßhammer
  • Kasper Elgetti Brodersen
  • Michael KühlEmail author
  • Klaus KorenEmail author
Review Article


Most aquatic systems rely on a multitude of biogeochemical processes that are coupled with each other in a complex and dynamic manner. To understand such processes, minimally invasive analytical tools are required that allow continuous, real-time measurements of individual reactions in these complex systems. Optical chemical sensors can be used in the form of fiber-optic sensors, planar sensors, or as micro- and nanoparticles (MPs and NPs). All have their specific merits, but only the latter allow for visualization and quantification of chemical gradients over 3D structures. This review (with 147 references) summarizes recent developments mainly in the field of optical NP sensors relevant for chemical imaging in aquatic science. The review encompasses methods for signal read-out and imaging, preparation of NPs and MPs, and an overview of relevant MP/NP-based sensors. Additionally, examples of MP/NP-based sensors in aquatic systems such as corals, plant tissue, biofilms, sediments and water-sediment interfaces, marine snow and in 3D bioprinting are given. We also address current challenges and future perspectives of NP-based sensing in aquatic systems in a concluding section.

Graphical abstract


Optical sensing Aquatic sciences Chemical gradients Fluorescence Phosphorescence Oxygen pH Nanomaterials 



This study was supported by a Sapere-Aude Advanced grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF-1323-00065B; MK), project grants from the Independent Research Fund Denmark | Natural Sciences (DFF-8021-00308B; MK) & Technical and Production Sciences (DFF-8022-00301B and DFF-4184-00515B; MK), the Villum Foundation (Grant no. 00023073; MK), the Poul Due Jensen Foundation (KK), and a Carlsberg Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (CF16-0899; KEB).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_3202_MOESM1_ESM.docx (480 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 479 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Biological Section, Department of BiologyUniversity of CopenhagenHelsingørDenmark
  2. 2.Climate Change ClusterUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia
  3. 3.Aarhus University Center for Water Technology, Department of Bioscience – MicrobiologyAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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