Fiber Optic Sensors With Hydrophilic, Radionuclide-Selective Cladding for the Detection of Radionuclides in Water Supplies

EPA Contract Number: EPD07024
Title: Fiber Optic Sensors With Hydrophilic, Radionuclide-Selective Cladding for the Detection of Radionuclides in Water Supplies
Investigators: Hoyt-Haight, Andrea E
Small Business: Adherent Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2007 through August 31, 2007
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Homeland Security , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


In this proposed Phase I project, we will develop a fiber optic scintillator system with radionuclide-selective cladding for use in the detection of radionuclide contamination in water supplies or wastewater streams. The current terrorist threat requires that vigilance be maintained on all avenues of attack to the United States, including the potential for attack on the country’s food or water supplies. The major advantage of this technology relative to current off-site laboratory methods of detecting radionuclides in water systems is the “instant” onsite detection, which would allow for an appropriate and timely emergency response.

Monitoring of radiological threats to water supplies is similar to the problem of monitoring groundwater contamination at Department of Energy facilities around the country. Significant challenges include the development of a robust detection system that can be used in a continuous monitoring mode and will be sensitive to extremely low levels of contamination.

The selective scintillating fiber optic devices to be developed during this project are expected to be capable of real-time or on-demand analysis and also are amenable to long-term and/or remote monitoring scenarios. When a large volume of scintillator is employed (either as a single-fiber sensor or in sensor bundles), these systems also should be capable of providing detection levels corresponding to drinking water standards. In addition, the use of chemically selective preconcentrating layers is expected to further improve the sensitivity and detection limits of the proposed sensor platform. Desirable attributes of these fiber optic devices include small size, light weight, low cost, low power consumption, and easy integration into a wide variety of application environments. These devices would represent a significant improvement over the current baseline methods that are based on costly laboratory analysis procedures performed at centralized laboratories.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, fiber optic sensors, radionuclides, radionuclide contamination, wastewater, drinking water, homeland security,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Drinking Water, Environmental Engineering, homeland security, real time analysis, bioterrorism, community water system, drinking water monitoring, early warning, analytical methods, drinking water contaminants, drinking water system, groundwater

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report