Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A better water test

01.09.2006
Water is essential for life. Nevertheless, even small amounts of water in the wrong places – such as fuels, lubricants, or organic solvents – can cause motors to sputter, metal parts to rust, or chemical reactions to go awry.

That's why one of the most common lab tests performed in industry is one that looks for traces of water in other substances, even though the test itself is complicated and time-consuming.

A new method for detection and measurement of small amounts of water, developed in the lab of Dr. Milko van der Boom in the Weizmann Institute's Organic Chemistry Department, might allow such tests to be performed accurately and quickly. Van der Boom and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Tarkeshwar Gupta created a versatile film on glass that is only 1.7 nanometers thick. The film can measure the number of water molecules in a substance even when it contains only a few parts per million.

"The problem," says van der Boom, "is that water is hard to detect and to quantify." His method is a departure from previous sensing techniques. In general, such sensor systems are based on relatively weak but selective "host-guest" interactions. In the Weizmann Institute team's sensor, metal complexes embedded in the film steal electrons from the water molecules.

... more about:
»Boom »Electron »Substance

When the number of electrons in the metal complexes changes, so does their color, and this change can be read optically. Devices based on optical readout do not need to be wired directly to larger-scale electronics – an issue that's still a tremendous challenge for much of molecular-based electronics.

The test can be done in as little as five minutes, and the molecular film can be returned to its original state by washing it with a simple chemical. The film also remains stable, even at high temperatures and with repeated use. In addition, it can be deposited in an inexpensive, one-molecule-thick layer on glass, silicon, optical fiber, or plastic.

The ease and low cost of fabrication may also make such films ideal for one-time use. Testing for water in fuel or solvents might become as simple as checking chlorine levels in a swimming pool. Optical detection and quantification by electron transfer could potentially work for numerous substances other than water. The scientists are now exploring the possibility of adapting the method to testing for trace amounts of materials or substances such as specific metal ions or gasses.

Jennifer Manning | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acwis.org

Further reports about: Boom Electron Substance

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory

26.04.2017 | Life Sciences

New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA examines newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D

26.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>