A microfluidic device for deciphering bacterial motion in presence of nanoparticles for household water treatment systems

We have developed a house-hold scale (16 litre), water purification device, based on nanoparticle-impregnated activated carbon (AC) composite, for disinfection of drinking water. It works by killing of microorganisms by metallic nanoparticles in the composite, whilst the AC part of the composite removes other organic and inorganic pollutants from water. This gives clean, drinking water, in our gravity-driven device, which does not need any electricity to flow water or kill microbes, as in a UV-lamp of a traditional filter, thereby saving energy. 

In this SERB, DST funded project, to develop the technology further, we will design and fabricate microfluidic constructs, to mimic the intergranular pore-space of AC granules, which will help us understand how nanoparticles interact with E. coli microbes in flowing water and help in their adsorptive and reactive killing, by a two-step mechanism observed by us in our experiments. The project-work will involve working with others in our research group having diverse experience in both biological and engineering aspects of the work and get to learn and do new experiments, and perform modeling of flow, adsorption and reaction in microfluidic channels and in our gravity-driven device also, depending on students' interest.    

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