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Microfluidic Sensors for On-Line Monitoring of Micropollutants in Water

Technology Overview

A microfluidic sensor with real-time monitoring capability and quantitative response has been developed to detect micropullutants such as chlorophenols, organic dyes and antibiotics in water. The sensor can be used to monitor water quality over a long period of time with a low running cost. The sensor shows fast response, good reversibility, a wide dynamic range and a low detection limit (in the ppb range). The sensor is compact in size and can be mass-produced inexpensively. 

Technology Features & Specifications

The microfluidic sensor is a compact device which can be operated continuously to monitor micropollutants in water. A unique configuration in the microfluidic device allows the sample solution to flow inside a microchannel and be in constant contact with a solution containing oxidant without mixing with it. A voltage is therefore created between the two solutions and the voltage is proportional to the reactant concentration. The microfluidic sensor can be modified with enzymes to render high specificity for a group of chemicals such as chlorophenols. The miniaturized microfluidic sensor can be used to monitor micropollutants continuously with a detection limit in the ppb range. 

Potential Applications

This technology is applicable in the following applications

  • Monitoring water quality in rivers or reservoirs.
  • Build a sensor network for a Smart Nation
  • Wastewater management
  • On-line monitoring of glucose or other biomedical applications
  • Food quality control in production lines. 

Market Trends and Opportunities

There is a strong demand for microsensors in various applications such as environmental monitoring and internet of things (IoT). However, there are not many commercially available sensors which are highly portable with the capability to detect traces of micropollutant in a water sample. 

Customer Benefits

Customers who adopt this process will see benefits such as:

  • A robust electrical sensor with a low cost
  • Low sample volume and high sensitivity
  • Customizable to render high specificity for different target molecules
  • On-line monitoring capability
  • Quantitative response

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