Optical detection of microplastics in water


Unfortunately, the plastic pollution increases at an exponential rate and drastically endangers the marine ecosystem. According to World Health Organization (WHO), microplastics in drinking water have become a concern and may be a risk to human health. One of the major efforts to fight against this problem is developing easy-to-use, low-cost, portable microplastic detection systems. To address this issue, here, we present our prototype device based on an optical system that can help detect the microplastics in water. This system that costs less than $370 is essentially a low-cost Raman spectrometer. It includes a collimated laser (5 mW), a sample holder, a notch filter, a diffraction grating, and a CCD sensor all integrated in a 3D printed case. Our experiments show that our system is capable of detecting microplastics in water having a concentration less than 0.015% w/v. We believe that the designed portable device can find a widespread use all over the world to monitor the microplastic content in an easier and cost-effective manner.

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Data availability

All relevant data are within the manuscript and available from the corresponding author upon request.


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Authors acknowledge the TÜBİTAK 1512 Program (Project No.: 2180145) for financial support.

Author information




K.I. and T.E. conceptualized and designed the experiments. A.H.I., M.H.A.S., A.M.A, and S.A.Q. performed the experiments. I.O., T.E., and K.I. analyzed the data. A.H.I., M.H.A.S., A.M.A, and S.A.Q made the figures. K.I., A.H.I., and T.E. wrote the paper. All the authors read and contributed to the submitted version of the manuscript. K. I. acquired the funding.

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Correspondence to Kutay Icoz.

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Iri, A.H., Shahrah, M.H.A., Ali, A.M. et al. Optical detection of microplastics in water. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12358-2

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  • Microplastic detection
  • Optical biosensor
  • Raman spectroscopy