Microwave Technology: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle



At present, water quality control is still dominated by laboratory analysis of grab samples. Sensors are only available for a very limited number of parameters and frequently do not entirely meet the needs of the users. Even a brief overview of the state-of-the-art in the real time water monitoring reveals that it is not possible to achieve adequate detection of water parameters by using only one type of sensor. Accordingly, the solution is to merge various technologies into a single system that would employ the best available methods for the detection of specific water contaminants, so as to provide overall superior sensitivity, selectivity and long-term stability, while enabling real-time wireless data collection for enhanced cost-effectiveness. Namely, multi-sensor platforms that utilise the best available methods combined into a single monitoring process are seen as the only way to achieve the holistic monitoring capabilities. It is suggested that a special role in this development is reserved for microwave technology based sensors a missing piece in the puzzle to potentially solve the issue of real-time water quality control. This paper reviews the capabilities of microwave sensors for real-time water quality monitoring as compared to other alternative methods, namely standard UV-VIS optical methods; fibre optic sensors; amperometric sensors, biosensors, specifically-sensitive microelectrodes and lab-on-chip sensing systems.




Evangelos Hristoforou and Dr. Dimitros S. Vlachos




O. Korostynska et al., "Microwave Technology: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 543, pp. 443-446, 2013


March 2013




[1] R. P. Schwarzenbach et al, The Challenge of Micropollutants in Aquatic Systems, Science, vol. 313, pp.1072-1077, (2006).

[2] M. Stuart, D. Lapworth, E. Crane, and A. Hart, Review of risk from potential emerging contaminants in UK groundwater, Science of The Total Environment, vol. 416, pp.1-21, (2012).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.11.072

[3] S. Rodriguez-Mozaz, M. J. Lopez de Alda, and D. Barceló, Advantages and limitations of on-line solid phase extraction coupled to liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry technologies versus biosensors for monitoring of emerging contaminants in water, Journal of Chromatography A, vol. 1152, pp.97-115, (2007).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2007.01.046

[4] A. Amine and G. Palleschi, Phosphate, Nitrate, and Sulfate Biosensors, Analytical Letters, vol. 37, pp.1-19, 2004/01/01 (2004).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1081/al-120027770

[5] M. M. Villalba, K. J. McKeegan, D. H. Vaughan, M. F. Cardosi, and J. Davis, Bioelectroanalytical determination of phosphate: A review, Journal of Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic, vol. 59, pp.1-8, (2009).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcatb.2008.12.011

[6] N. Al-Dasoqi, A. Mason, R. Alkhaddar, and A. Al-Shamma'a, Use of Sensors in Wastewater Quality Monitoring - a Review of Available Technologies, in World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011: Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability 2011, p.354.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1061/41173(414)354

[7] O. Korostynska, A. Mason, and A. I. Al-Shamma'a, Monitoring of Nitrates and Phosphates in Wastewater: Current Technologies and Further Challenges, International Journal on Smart Sensing and Intelligent Systems, vol. 5, pp.149-176, March 2012 (2012).

[8] W.B. Lyons et al, A multi-point optical fibre sensor for condition monitoring in process water systems based on pattern recognition, Measurement, vol. 34, pp.301-312, (2003).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0263-2241(03)00048-4

[9] R.P. McCue, J. E. Walsh, F. Walsh, and F. Regan, Modular fibre optic sensor for the detection of hydrocarbons in water, Sensors and Actuators, B: Chemical, vol. 114, pp.438-444, (2006).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.snb.2005.04.048

[10] K. Arshak and O. Korostynska, Advanced materials and techniques for radiation dosimetry: Artech House, (2006).

[11] L. Gilbert et al, Development of an amperometric, screen-printed, single-enzyme phosphate ion biosensor and its application to the analysis of biomedical and environmental samples, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, vol. 160, pp.1322-1327, (2011).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.snb.2011.09.069

[12] W.H. Lee et al, Biological Application of Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems Microelectrode Array Sensors for Direct Measurement of Phosphate in the Enhanced Biological Phosphorous Removal Process, Water Environment Research, vol. 81, pp.748-754, Aug (2009).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/106143008x370449

[13] B. Kapilevich and B. Litvak, Microwave sensor for accurate measurements of water solution concentrations, in Microwave Conference, 2007. APMC 2007. Asia-Pacific, 2007, pp.1-4.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/apmc.2007.4554682

[14] J. D. Boon and J. M. Brubaker, Acoustic-microwave water level sensor comparisons in an estuarine environment, in OCEANS 2008, 2008, pp.1-5.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/oceans.2008.5151893

[15] B. Jackson and T. Jayanthy, A novel method for water impurity concentration using microstrip resonator sensor, in Recent Advances in Space Technology Services and Climate Change (RSTSCC), 2010, pp.376-379.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/rstscc.2010.5712872

[16] C. Bernou, D. Rebière, and J. Pistré, Microwave sensors: a new sensing principle. Application to humidity detection, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, vol. 68, pp.88-93, (2000).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0925-4005(00)00466-4

[17] B. O'Flynn et al, Experiences and recommendations in deploying a real-time, water quality monitoring system, Measurement Science and Technology, vol. 21, p.124004, (2010).