Water Purity Detection In Real Time

A water purity detection device has been created by the lab of Prof. Abraham Katzir of Tel Aviv University's School of Physics and Astronomy. It can detect poisons and contaminants invisible to the naked eye immediately, rather than through sampling and testing.

Modifying special fibers developed in his Tel Aviv University lab, Prof. Katzir can detect "colors" in the infrared spectrum which distinguish between pure and contaminated water. Not visible to the naked eye, this spectrum is normally only seen by certain animals, like snakes or vampire bats, to track down prey. Connected to a commercial infrared spectrometer, the fibers serve as sensors that can detect and notify authorities immediately if a contaminant has entered a water reservoir, system, building or pipeline.

In the lab, the fiberoptic system detected poisons such as pesticides in amounts well below the World Health Organization safety threshold. Preliminary field experiments have already been done at several European sites, and the results were reported recently in the Journal of Applied Spectroscopy.

This will remind Dune fans of the poison snooper used by all noble-born persons on a regular basis. Pictured below is a hand-held version from a 1984 movie version; the quote below is from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel.


(Handheld poison snooper from Dune)

Poison snoopers were installed over banquet tables for the sake of the guest's piece of mind:

The Duke said: "Paul, I'm doing a hateful thing, but I must." He stood beside the portable poison snooper that had been brought into the conference room for their breakfast. The thing's sensor arms hung limply over the table, reminding Paul of some weird insect newly dead.
(Read more about the poison snooper from Dune)

From Science Daily; thanks to an anonymous reader for contributing the tip and the reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/22/2009)

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