5) Smart Sensoring with Micro & Nano Technology

Water quality monitoring encompasses the measurement of the physical, chemical, and/or (micro)biological characteristics of water. While relevant applications, like drinking water and water treatment plants, and various industrial processes typically deal with volumes at the mega level, measurements that require sampling, address selectivity or aim for high accuracy at the long run rely on micro and even nano technologies. In this session several academic and more applied examples of the integration of such technologies in the field of water quality monitoring will be presented.


Marcel Zevenbergen, imec the Netherlands:
Today 23 billion devices are connected to the internet and this amount will exponentially increase to 75 billion in 2025. We predict a similar trend for water quality sensing. A large-scale dense network of water quality sensors will generate new insights for efficient water management, both in space and time. To achieve this, imec developed a continuous and real-time lab-on-a-chip for multiple ions (like pH, EC, T, dissolved oxygen, nitrate a.o.). Long-term stability is achieved by incorporating microfluidics on the chip, while microfabrication enables mass production and low cost. Combined with latest radio standards (like LoRa or NB-Iot) and low-power readout electronics, sensor nodes are being developed with data rate and connectivity range tailored for this application. I will discuss the sensor concept, performance and preliminary results of a first trial close to the Blanckaert reservoir in West-Flanders, Belgium, an area that suffered from salination caused by the droughts of 2017 and 2018.

Michiel Oderwald, TNO:
In many industrial, medical and other processes, the composition of liquids is measured in a lab. This is costly and time consuming. TNO developed a sensing system to measure the composition of a fluid real-time and inline by the use of Laser Induced Breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). With a pulsed laser the watery fluid is heated in a focus point up to such a high temperature that a plasma is formed. The elements within the plasma emit light at wavelengths specific for that element. This light is collected and measured with a spectrometer. The measurement takes place through a window, so no physical contact with the fluid is needed. In cooperation with the Dutch Kidney Foundation TNO developed a compact LIBS setup with a spectrometer dedicated to measure the concentration of Calcium, Sodium and Potassium in the dialysate fluid real-time. By delivering a more patient centered care, this will improve the quality of life of kidney patients. TNO is exploring more applications of this sensor, such as horticulture, surface water and industrial and domestic waste water.


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