Ha Na Kim† a, Wen Xiu Ren† b, Jong Seung Kim *b and Juyoung Yoon *a
aDepartment of Chemistry and Nano Science and Department of Bioinspired Science (WCU), Ewha Womans University, Seoul 120-750, Korea.
bDepartment of Chemistry, Korea University, Seoul 130-701, Korea.
† Contributed equally to this work.
*Corresponding author; Jong Seung Kim and Juyoung Yoon
Exposure to even very low levels of lead, cadmium, and mercury ions is known to cause neurological, reproductive, cardiovascular, and developmental disorders, which are more serious problems for children particularly. Accordingly, great efforts have been devoted to the development of fluorescent and colorimetric sensors, which can selectively detect lead, cadmium, and mercury ions. In this critical review, the fluorescent and colorimetric sensors are classified according to their receptors into several categories, including small molecule based sensors, calixarene based chemosensors, BODIPY based chemosensors, polymer based chemosensors, DNA functionalized sensing systems, protein based sensing systems and nanoparticle based sensing systems (197 references).