Grapheal and EDYTEM Laboratory Fine-tune Portable Sensor for Detecting Water-borne PFAS

Grapheal, a deep-tech startup, in collaboration with the EDYTEM laboratory— a joint research unit of the French Research Center CNRS and Savoie Mont Blanc University— today announced the design of a portable device connected to smartphones capable of measuring PFAS contamination in water.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as 'forever chemicals', comprise around 12,000 different chemicals used across various applications due to their unique properties. These chemicals are notorious for their persistence, toxicity, and bioaccumulation, leading to significant environmental and health concerns. They are prevalent across numerous sites in Europe, as revealed by a major mapping project. The traditional methods for detecting PFAS involve complex and expensive laboratory equipment, making the need for simpler, on-site detection methods a global priority.

The Fluorograph’s portable sensor, which is about the size of a credit card and can connect to smartphones or tablets, offers a practical solution by enabling direct, on-site detection of PFAS in water at low cost by interfacing with mobile technologies. This sensor can detect specific PFAS compounds, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), at levels below the EU regulatory maximum of 500 ng/L for total PFAS in drinking water, with a demonstrated detection limit of below 300 ng/L. This allows for immediate and precise mapping of contaminated sites.

The device is noted for its high sensitivity and user-friendly design, which supports extensive monitoring and mapping of pollution evolution over time. These features are particularly beneficial for regulatory bodies, field researchers, and personnel involved in water management. The use of printed electronics and a carbon sensor in the device’s production also reduces environmental impacts, aligning with sustainable practices.

Vincent Bouchiat, CEO of Grapheal, highlighted the economic benefits of the device, emphasizing that its ease of use allows for more frequent testing and reduces the costs associated with water analysis. Grapheal is actively seeking industrial partners to scale up the production of this innovative device.

The development and initial success of the Fluorograph device, established under a program supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR), marks significant advancements in environmental monitoring and public health. By focusing on research and the application of environmentally responsible technologies, the device is set to positively impact ecosystems and communities globally, positioning the Fluorograph as a leader in the field.