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Luminescent Sensor Detects Rare Earth Element Terbium

Posted by: Chris Na 2021-09-01 Comments Off on Luminescent Sensor Detects Rare Earth Element Terbium

Luminescent Sensor Detects Rare Earth Element Terbium

Category: tungsten‘s News
Published on Tuesday, 31 August 2021 21:22

Terbium is one of the rare earth elements. It produces green color in mobile phone displays and is also used in high-efficiency lighting and solid-state devices. However, obtaining Tb and other rare earths from the environment presents various chemical, environmental, and political challenges.

Assistant Professor Joseph Cotruvo, Jr. and Professor of Chemical Career Development Louis Martarano of Pennsylvania State University said: "There is currently no rare earth element supply chain in the United States, but they are abundant in non-traditional sources, including coal by-products, acid mine drainage, and electronic waste. In this research, we have developed a luminescence-based sensor that can be used to detect and even quantify low-concentration Tb in complex acidic samples."

Scientists change the protein by adding the amino acid tryptophan to the protein to develop this new luminescent sensor. Tryptophan acts as a sensitizer for Tb, which means that the light absorbed by tryptophan can be transferred to Tb.

Cotruvo said: "This green-emitting function is one of the main reasons why Tb is used in smartphone displays and other technologies. For our purposes, when the tryptophan-lanmodulin regulatory protein compound is combined with Tb, we can observe emitted light to measure the concentration of terbium in the sample."

Luminescent Sensor Detects Rare Earth Element Terbium

The scientists then tested the most promising variants to determine the lowest concentration of terbium that the sensor can detect under ideal conditions, during which there is no interference from other metals. Even in highly acidic conditions such as acid mine drainage, the sensor can detect Tb levels related to the environment.


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