Received a grant to develop the next generation of water sensors together with industry

The increasing population results in increasing contamination of the environment, notably water. This not only affects animal life, but may also threaten the supply of clean drinking water in the future. Monitoring of water quality at water treatment facilities and in surface water will allow the identification of excesses and enable a timely response. In this project we propose to develop biosensors for the monitoring of pharmaceuticals and nutrients in water. The proposed sensors are based on functionalized particles that are monitored in a miniature imaging system, and whose motion responds to the presence of a specific micropollutant. This sensing principle will enable the continuous monitoring of contamination, is extremely specific to a certain micropollutant, and consumes no reagents. The sensor will be developed and characterized in the lab, integrated into a device, and field-tested. The sensing principles can be generalized to other micropollutants by adapting the biofunctionalization, providing a generic platform for continuous monitoring of water quality.