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Graphene-Based Sensing Platform For Chemicals And Microorganisms In Water

Chen, Junhong; Christensen, Erik
University of Wisconsin System
Start date
End date

This proposal seeks funding for the Center for Center for Water Equipment and Policy (WEP) located at THE University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Funding Requests for Fundamental Research are authorized by an NSF approved solicitation, NSF 10-601. The solicitation invites I/UCRCs to submit proposals for support of industry-defined fundamental research. This project aims to explore a novel, generic, and low-cost, and reliable grapheme based sensing platform to detect various chemicals (e.g., nitrate, lead) and microorganisms (e.g., E. coli) in water. The platform is based on hybrid structures of thermally-reduced graphene oxide (TRGO) decorated with probe-functionalized gold nanoparticles (Au NPs). The electrical detection of target agents that bind to probes is accomplished by measuring changes in electrical characteristics of the device. The proposed project will be carried out through close collaboration between UWM and WEP members (Badger Meter, A. O. Smith, and Pentair). The UWM team will be responsible for laboratory development and understanding of the novel graphene-based water sensing platform. Project results will lead to inexpensive, ultrasensitive, rapid, and specific sensors for detecting aqueous chemicals and microorganisms and provide additional technological benefits to WEP members. The new water sensor will enable water quality monitoring not only at the water distribution center but also along water distribution lines and at the point of use. The proposed research will be extensively integrated into educational goals to promote interdisciplinary engineering education to attract more underrepresented students and to broadly disseminate findings. Special efforts to inspire underrepresented pre-college students include taking nanosensor technology into high school classrooms through collaboration with Lakeview Technology Academy, offering 'Science Saturdays on Water Sensing Technology', and mentoring students on science projects. Additional outreach through posting the course module on a high-impact, NSF-sponsored National Center for Learning and Teaching Web site, a nanosensor technology exhibit in conjunction with the Milwaukee discovery World Museum, and regional science fairs, will effectively disseminate nanosensor technology to a wide range of audiences.

Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
Project source
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Project number
Chemical Contaminants