A research team at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has synthesized a molecular sensor that reveals the presence of zinc in water. The work, which appeared in the July 13 issue of Journal of Organic Chemistry, follows the team's production of molecules sensitive to mercury and cadmium pollution. The researchers have designed a fluorophore-tagged molecule that binds to zinc ions and that glows under ultraviolet light. The color and intensity of the fluorescence response of the molecules indicate the presence, concentration and species of zinc ions in solution. The team hopes to apply the technique to the real-time monitoring of contaminants in wastewater from industrial and water-treatment facilities.