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25 June 2013
Innovations

ISTU scientists provide a laser system for water quality control in real time

ISTU employees offer monitoring water quality using the laser in real time. This innovative method will allow more effective preparing of bottled water.

Director of the Institute of Physics and Mathematics at ISTU, Nikolay Ivanov, said that the scientists investigated the possibility of controlling the degree of deterioration of aircraft engines by the presence of wear particles in the engine oil. Conventional spectral methods are based on the sampling and subsequent laboratory analysis which are time-consuming. Meanwhile, it happens often that the node of aircraft crashes, and it is necessary to track the presence of wear particles in the oil-in-real time. Employees of ISTU created a special unit to monitor the wear particles in engine oils. Then it was decided to use this technique for the examination of water, since it can also contan suspended particles and their presence is characterized by the cleaning quality.

"The experiments on the water on the calculation of the concentration of particulate solids have already carried out in ISTU in the department of laser physics and nanotechnology. If we look at the water under a microscope, we will not see anything because the mechanical particles are in Brownian motion, and their contrast is very small. Therefore, the laser light has been used to form the laser beam using a cylindrical lens. Highlighting of the particles takes place in a very narrow channel, and we can observe them with a microscope, and record them with a special video system. Then, department employees do sampling with the help of special programs and determine the concentration of particles in the water, " said N. Ivanov.

According to his information, the preparation of bottled water is now going through the filters, ozone and ultraviolet radiation. However, control doesn’t exist in real time. If there is a technological failure, the filters are out of order, and then it will be known about this in a few days, because it is necessary to wait for the results of the analysis of water samples in the laboratory. During this time, thousands of liters of untreated water can get to the shops.

"We propose to enterprises, producing bottled water, implementing our laser system at the step of water quality control in real time. At the same time, if there is a large concentration of suspended particles, we can quickly change the filter or carry out other work. In addition, we intend to develop the entire water treatment system that would include a comprehensive water quality monitoring, tracking the level of concentration of not only mechanical particles but also the degree of bacterial contamination. We propose to use ultraviolet laser instead of biochemical laboratory methods for this purpose, which can determine the level of availability of organic substances in the water due to the organic luminescence component. Water itself does not glow, organic substances present therein contribute to this. According to the level of luminescence in UV laser we can tell whether there is organic debris, oil in water or not, " said N.Ivanov.

The scientist showed images of the observed mechanical particles in the water. These particles are much rarer in the filtered bottled water and look like small droplets. Meanwhile, frames of tap water show large ones that have a different configuration. Thus, it is literary possible to track purity water by the eyes. In the near future, scientists of ISTU intend to finalize a comprehensive system of monitoring of water quality and patent it.

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