Conventional methods for analyzing heavy metal contamination in soil and water generally require laboratory equipped instruments, complex procedures, skilled personnel and a significant amount of time. With the advancement in computing and multitasking performances, smartphone-based sensors potentially allow the transition of the laboratory-based analytical processes to field applicable, simple methods. In the present work, we demonstrate the novel miniaturized setup for simultaneous sample preparation and smartphone-based optical sensing of arsenic As(III) in the contaminated soil. Colorimetric detection protocol utilizing aptamers, gold nanoparticles and NaCl have been optimized and tested on the PDMS-chip to obtain the high sensitivity with the limit of detection of 0.71 ppm (in the sample) and a correlation coefficient of 0.98. The performance of the device is further demonstrated through the comparative analysis of arsenic-spiked soil samples with standard laboratory method, and a good agreement with a correlation coefficient of 0.9917 and the average difference of 0.37 ppm, are experimentally achieved. With the android application on the device to run the experiment, the whole process from sample preparation to detection is completed within 3 hours without the necessity of skilled personnel. The approximate cost of setup is estimated around 1 USD, weight 55 g. Therefore, the presented method offers the simple, rapid, portable and cost-effective means for onsite sensing of arsenic in soil. Combined with the geometric information inside the smartphones, the system will allow the monitoring of the contamination status of soils in a nation-wide manner.
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