Chemical sensor development for water contaminants and technology for their removal
Continuous monitoring of water quality parameters, like total dissolved solids, heavy metals, inorganic ions, organic pollutants etc.is an important measurement, to ascertain quality and use of a water body. This is critical for both a flowing water-stream (river, canal) or a stagnant water-pool, like a lake. To that end, in this project, one has to work on a coated nanoparticle mediated, optical-spectra based sensor (developed by us), which has been tested with both synthetic and field-water samples, for various species, like arsenic, fluoride, chromium, phenol etc. The aim is to further develop the nanoparticle sensor solution/coating and study the material and interfacial properties of the sensor with contaminants in water, so as to have a functional sensor platform with multiplexing abilities, suitable for field testing.
Also, the work will entail miniaturization and coupling of water flow (for water sampling), mechanical autosampler, sensor-reagant and water-sample mixing devices and flow-cells to complete the device automation, s part of onging work in our laboratory.
The next step will be to also develop methods to remove these measured contaminants, which we have achieved for arsenic, by using a nanoparticle coated polymeric fibre. Thus, this project will involve both sensing and removal of contaminants from water, with the final aim of providing clean, drinking water.
Part of this work has been in collaboration with Electrical Engg. Dept., IITB and Industry partner from Japan. This will enable a broad understanding of different fields of engineering, during this research, in addition to one’s own focus area of nanomaterials, sensing and water treatment.