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Detection of water contamination

Scientists have developed a novel system that uses light to rapidly measure contaminants in water.
Detection of water contamination
Aquaphotomics is a relatively new discipline that uses the interaction of light and water to provide a rapid and comprehensive analysis of water. It also makes the real-time analysis of water quality a possibility for the first time.

The EU-funded AQUASENSE project combined aquaphotomics with near-infrared imaging techniques to create a real-time, multi-contaminant detection system for rapid water monitoring and analysis. After comprehensive training in water quality monitoring and other relevant techniques, several common contaminants were chosen for testing. Baseline measurements were performed for several types of water, and at different temperatures, in order to establish the variation in pure water. Temperature and humidity were identified as confounding factors that needed to be characterised and then corrected.

Researchers also developed algorithms that would allow for the identification of specific contaminants, and these were tested against known contaminants under various conditions. They found that the contaminant concentrations in drinking water were too low for detection with this new system, but it could be effective for screening wastewater.

AQUASENSE represents a first attempt to use light to measure water contamination in real time. The expertise and technical information gained during the project has thus laid the groundwork for future research in this field.

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