Scientific objectives and approach:
Research of scientific and technical literature, supported by calculations and laboratory measurements, will substantiate and qualify claims and reports describing LIBS technology as potentially suitable for sub-ppm metal quantitation. A TRAF-LIBS design, in theory even more selective and sensitive, will be similarly evaluated and constrained.
Novel laser and optical subsystems will be designed, exploiting recent technological advances and the dramatic reliability growth and cost reductions afforded by solid-state LED pumped lasers and by spectrometers using replicated echelles and CCD detectors. Novel concepts for a synchronous IR pumped UV wideband pulsed light source will be demonstrated in a TRAF-LIBS assembly.
Prototype analysers will be designed, produced, and parametrically optimised. They will then be installed at selected end-user locations, and linked across the Internet to a central location for real-time diagnostics, operation and evaluation.
Market analysis will assess demand, requirements, and market structure, allowing informed decisions to be reached in the balance in design between cost, performance and price. An evolving Exploitation Plan will pursue visibility and acceptability among regulators and industrial users, and address licensing as well as post-project production and distribution issues. An Exploitation Agreement will formalize, early in the course of the project, the terms for the ongoing and long-term cooperation between the partners.
Problems to be solved:
The pollution of waters with metals such as As, Be, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, or Pb is a growing concern. Off-line laboratory analysis is not effective in the detection and détente of acute contamination events. Environmental authorities, the agricultural sector, and manufacturing industries lack affordable tools for monitoring trace metals in water. The need and opportunity arises for applying recent scientific and technological breakthroughs to the development and demonstration of prototype instruments capable of monitoring a wide range of metals in water at their environmental concentration levels in real time.
The consortium of nine SME's and two R&D centres will design, produce, evaluate and demonstrate, both in the laboratory and in the field, reliable and affordable prototypes implementing Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) and Time-Resolved Atomic Fluorescence LIBS (TRAF-LIBS) for the real-time detection of trace metals in water.
Demonstration initiatives will protect the environment and show how to improve human safety and living conditions.
Field tests will demonstrate the feasibility of unattended real-time analysis of critical trace metals in water at emblematic locations such as fish farms, wastewater at industrial plants, and rivers. Links will be established with networks presently monitoring water quality and lacking real-time metal diagnostic capabilities.
Comprehensive agreements will be stipulated for subsequent exploitation of the technology into commercial end products capable of gaining widespread acceptance in a variety of formats and markets.
Prototypes will be evaluated at mid-term (design and first results), performance data helping focus marketing actions. An Exploitation Agreement is to be signed at this stage.
Final assessment will evaluate scientific and technological advances (publications, patents, engineering files) and social impact (environmental protection), and will launch strategies for industrial exploitation and economic success.
Call for proposalData not available
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
08190 Valldoreix (Sant Cugat Del Valles)
SN6 8LA Swindon
17 130 L'escala
CH65 3AS Wirral