Cyanide Sensor


NJIT Docket # 17-036

A novel Optical Cyanide Sensor


Inventors: Kevin Belfield


Intellectual Property & Development status: Patent protection is pending.

NJIT is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.


Technology Brief: Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science have invented a simple, inexpensive, easy to use, highly selective and sensitive optical cyanide sensor, which uniquely does not require sampling and analysis in the laboratory.


Cyanide is one of the most known lethal poisons. Cyanide is highly toxic because it inhibits oxygen utilization by cells, binding with ferric iron in cytochrome oxidase, blocking the oxidative process of cells. Existing systems for cyanide detection suffer from some disadvantages, such as complicated organic synthesis, environmentally harmful systems, water insolubility, poor photostability, high detection limits, or easy interference from other anions. This invention presents a highly selective, sensitive and photostable colorimetric and fluorescent cyanide sensor that can detect cyanide ion in organic and aqueous solutions as low as 1.7 µM concentration, which is lower than the maximum contaminant level for the cyanide anions in drinking water set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Interestingly, the invention does not require sampling and analysis in the laboratory. The color change in test can be detected by the naked eye or with an inexpensive silicon photodiode. A paper strip sensor has already been developed based on the color gradient from dark blue to colorless with increasing concentrations of cyanide. The invention is potentially can also be used as an ink or printed on labels to apply on packages and shipping containers.



•       Cyanide detection

       Homeland Security

       Military

       Gold Mines

       Packages and shipping containers



•       Higher Sensitivity and selectivity

•       Simple and easy to use

•       Photostable

•       Inexpensive

•       Single digit µM detection limit


Inventors Bio:

Kevin Belfield was appointed Dean of the College of Science and Liberal Arts at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science in November 2014. Dr. Belfield received the B.S. degree in Chemistry from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1982 and, after spending one year at Bristol-Myers Pharmaceutical Co. in Syracuse (1982-83), the Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Syracuse University in 1988 (under the mentorship of John E. Baldwin). He then worked as a Senior Chemist at Ciba-Geigy Corp. before performing postdoctoral research at SUNY College of Environmental and Forestry (with Israel Cabasso) and at Harvard University (with William von E. Doering).  Subsequently, Kevin was a member of the faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy and Graduate Coordinator. While at the University of Detroit Mercy, Belfield was an AFOSR Summer Faculty Fellow in 1997 and 1998.  Prior to joining NJIT he served as Pegasus Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Central Florida (1998-2014).  In 2010, Dr. Belfield was 2010 Inducted into the National Commission of Cooperative Education (NCCE) Co-op Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and awarded a Chang Jiang Chaired Professorship by the Chinese Ministry of Education at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China. Belfield has served as PI or co-PI on over 45 grants from federal, foundation, and corporate agencies. Kevin has over 250 publications, holds over a dozen US patents, and serves on several editorial advisory boards of scientific journals. Dr. Belfield is a pioneer in two-photon photochemistry and organic photonic materials. His research interests range from developing contrast agents for early cancer detection and new paradigms for photodynamic cancer therapy to ultrafast photophysics and 3D high density optical data storage.




Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Simon Nynens
VP, Business Incubation
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Kevin Belfield
Taihong Liu
Xinglei Liu
Patent Pending
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