Nanomaterial-Based Microchip Assays For Continuous Environmental Monitoring

EPA Grant Number: R830900
Title: Nanomaterial-Based Microchip Assays For Continuous Environmental Monitoring
Investigators: Wang, Joseph
Institution: New Mexico State University - Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 2003 through May 31, 2006
Project Amount: $341,000
RFA: Environmental Futures Research in Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Human Health , Safer Chemicals


This research effort will address the needs for innovative nanotechnological tools for continuous environmental monitoring of priority pollutants. The project aims at creating a novel nanomaterial-based submersible microfluidic device for rapidly, continuously, and economically monitoring different classes of priority pollutants. We wish to exploit the unique properties of metal nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes for enhancing the separation and detection processes, respectively, in microchip environmental assays, and to understand the relationship between the physical and chemical properties of these nanomaterials and the observed behavior. The miniaturized ‘Laboratory-on-a-Cable’ will incorporate all the steps of the analytical protocol into the submersible remotely-deployed device.


The proposed effort aims at addressing the challenge of transforming the ‘Lab-on-a-Chip’ concept to an effective environmental monitoring system and at exploiting the unique properties of nanomaterials for enhancing such chip-based environmental assays. “Lab-on-Chip” technologies can dramatically change the speed and scale at which environmental analyses are performed. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a submersible microfluidic device, based on the integration of all the necessary sample handling/preparatory steps and nanomaterial-based assays on a cable platform. The new ‘Laboratory-on-a-Cable’ concept relies on the integration of continuous sampling, sample pretreatment, particle-based separations, and nanotube-based detection step into a single-sealed miniaturized submersible package. Nanoparticle and nanotube materials will be examined towards the enhancement of the separation and detection processes, respectively. Factors governing the improvements imparted by these nanomaterials will be identified, and structural-performance correlations will be established. We will also examine new ‘world-to-chip’ interfaces towards the goal of effective on-line sample introduction, and will assess the challenges of transforming the new microchip to a continuous monitoring system. The parameters governing the microchip behavior will be optimized and the analytical performance will be characterized and validated.

Expected Results:

The effort will enhance our understanding of the use of nanoparticles and carbon-nanotubes as separation carriers and detectors, respectively, in chip-based environmental assays. The resulting submersible microfluidic device will enable transporting the entire laboratory to the sample source, and will offer significant advantages in terms of speed, cost, efficiency, sample/reagent consumption, and automation. Performing in-situ all the necessary steps of the analytical protocol should thus have an enormous impact on the way contaminated sites are monitored. Such development of a miniaturized system, with negligible waste production, holds great promise for meeting the requirements of field ‘Green Analytical Chemistry’. Understanding the correlation between the properties of nanomaterials and the measurement processes will have broader implications upon the use of nanomaterials in analytical chemistry, and upon the fields of microfluidic devices and on nanotechnology, in general.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 19 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 13 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Methods/Techniques, Media, Chemicals, Toxics, Toxic substances, Nanomaterials, Microchips, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Sustainable Industry/Business, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, nanosensors, continous monitoring, environmental measurement, carbon nanotubes, continuous monitoring, nanotechnology, microchip assays, analytical chemistry, nanocontact sensor

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final