WaterPrint: On-chip optical sensors for the fingerprinting of contaminants in drinking water

Real-time water quality monitoring in the distribution network is becoming a subject of great interest due to the large economic and public health consequences derived from an unexpected contamination outbreak in the drinking water supply. Compact, low cost, robust, low maintenance and long lifetime sensors, functioning without the need for sample preparation, capable of firstly detecting the occurrence of a contamination event and secondly determining the origin/cause of such event are needed by waterworks both in the Netherlands and worldwide.

The aim of this project is to develop waveguide-based on-chip surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sensors and investigate the full potential of their combination with refractive index and pH sensors for the real-time fingerprinting of contaminants in drinking water. During operation the sensing platform will first detect that a change has occurred in the water composition, "an event", followed by chemical identification of what produced the event.