A colorimetric microfluidic sensor made by a simple instrumental-free prototyping process for sensitive quantitation of copper

  • Guan-Li Xie
  • Hong Yu
  • Mu-Han Deng
  • Xue-Liang Zhao
  • Peng YuEmail author
Original Paper


A simple, cost-effective, instrumental-free prototyping process has been developed for fabricating flexible, multilayer colorimetric microfluidic sensor. A hand-hold punch was used to make microfluidic sensor pattern with no use of any expensive instruments (laser cutter, cutting plotter, screen printer, wax printer, etc.). Colorimetric analysis was carried out using a smartphone camera as a reader. Sensitive quantitation of copper has been demonstrated on the developed sensor under the optimal parameters. In the presence of copper ion, the Blue channel color values decreased with increasing the Cu2+ concentration. The Blue channel color intensity was linear with the concentration of Cu2+ in the range from 0 to 30 mg/L with a detection limit of 0.096 mg/L (3σ). The developed microfluidic sensor possesses good selectivity, satisfying reproducibility and high recoveries in tap water. Furthermore, through changing hole punch with different hole shape and hole numbers, it is extremely easy to produce microfluidic sensors with different design in quantity at low cost. What’s more, the developed sensor could be easily extended to detect other single analyte or multiple analytes, showing promising practical applications in environmental analysis.


Microfluidic Colorimetry Sensor Copper 



This work was financially supported by Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province (Grant No. 2018JJ3500), Research Foundation for PhD of Xiangtan University (Grant No. KZ08042) and National Science and Technology Major Project (Grant No. 2016ZX05040-002).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts to declare.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Chemistry, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Materials Science and EngineeringXiangtan UniversityXiangtanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Food and Biology Science and TechnologyWuhan Institute of Design and SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Geological Environment Monitoring TechnologyCenter for Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology SurveyBaodingPeople’s Republic of China

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