Navigation Links
Lasers offer an automated way to test drinking water

In today's world, we simply cannot do without lasers. We use them to print out documents, play CDs or DVDs, weld, cut, or bend car components, survey roads, monitor our bloodstream, and even remove tumors from our bodies. Now researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF in Freiburg have developed the technology for a further application. Their quantum cascade laser a particular type of infrared laser forms the core of an analysis apparatus that allows drinking water to be sampled automatically at the waterworks itself. As a result, water companies can determine within a few minutes whether their water contains any impurities and what those impurities are. The system has been designed in order to enable immediate identification of dangerous substances. "The equipment samples the water for dangerous substances at the waterworks itself in the course of routine operations, and allows for a rapid response," says Dr. Frank Fuchs, summarizing the advantages of the system. Dr. Fuchs is Fraunhofer IAF coordinator for the IRLSENS project, which is funded by Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

To examine the components of water, experts use molecular spectroscopy: that is to say, they examine the optical spectra of the molecules in the water. Each chemical com-pound has a unique spectrum, since individual molecules vibrate and absorb light at characteristic frequencies. Water itself is a very strong absorber of infrared light; since the light sources employed to date have delivered little power, until now examinations of this sort have been possible only in a laboratory setting. "The main sticking point is the intensity of the light. In order to be in a position to employ molecular spectroscopy at the waterworks itself, we needed to find a more powerful light source," explains Fuchs.

Taking water samples in the course of routine operations

Fraunhofer IAF's quantum cascade laser produces light that is up to 1000 times more concentrated than the silicon carbide thermal emitters used in the laboratory to date. Infrared radiation which is at longer wavelengths that the human eye does not register can be used to analyze impurities in the water. For molecular spectroscopy, analysts are interested in wavelengths between 7.3 and 11 micrometers. No longer must the water samples be prepared in the laboratory, costing time and money. Instead, they can be taken in situ in the course of routine operations. The measurement system is only a little larger than a shoebox, works automatically, and requires hardly any maintenance.

A demonstrator has already successfully undergone initial practical testing. At the Kleine Kinzig waterworks in the Black Forest, tests were conducted on various concentrations of sweetener as a simulant substance. Measurements were taken every three minutes over a period of six weeks, with the fully automated system collecting a total of 21,000 samples. The results were excellent: every sample was recorded in perfect detail, and there was not a single error. Even the concerns regarding the susceptibility of the laser spectrometer to vibrations were proved unfounded, since the machines and pumps in operation in the machine hall had no adverse impact on the test results. Providing there is sufficient demand, project partner Bruker Optik, the company that built the demonstrator, would like to develop the measurement system into a finished product.

The German drinking water system maintains extremely high quality standards. All German waterworks have their water samples checked regularly in laboratories such as the project partner Water Technology Center (TZW) in Karlsruhe. What's more, each individual waterworks keeps a close eye on misting, pH value, and electric conductivity so that they can intervene immediately in the case of any anomaly. "If we see any such anomalies, this novel laser technology can quickly identify the dangerous substance on site and support water experts as they assess the situation," finishes Fuchs.


Contact: Dr. Frank Fuchs

Related biology news :

1. CLEO: 2013 press luncheon spotlights new techniques in optofluidics, temporal cloaking, cryolasers
2. BGI partners with Life Technologies to offer sequencing applications on ion torrent
3. New study offers hope for halting incurable citrus disease
4. Hair Transplant Offer and No-Cost Consultation are Now Available at Strax Rejuvenation
5. Potential diagnostic marker for zinc status offers insights into the effects of zinc deficiency
6. Cell study offers more diabetic patients chance of transplant
7. Mechanism offers promising new approach for harnessing the immune system to fight cancer
8. Honey bee gene targeting offers system to understand food-related behavior
9. Major global analysis offers hope for saving the wild side of staple food crops
10. New treatment offers hope for short-bowel syndrome patients
11. Offers in Depth OxyELITE Pro Reviews
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Lasers offer an automated way to test drinking water
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to ... ) , The analysts forecast the ... CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... number of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... BioCatch ™, the global ... the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as CEO. ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of significant ... of its platform at several of the world,s largest ... unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner of ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, Inc. (OTC: ... and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce our successful ... a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures against ... collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured of ... DNA. Bill Bollander , CEO states, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the development of novel compounds designed to target ... compound, napabucasin, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation ... in the treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal ... cancer stemness inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook ... Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their official ... Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic ... with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston Methodist ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., ... Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field ... DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding ...
Breaking Biology Technology: