Ocean lab-on-a-chip sensors
"Iron-man" on the seafloor
High-performance phosphate, nitrate, nitrite sensors
Microbiology total analysis systems
Commercialization
Distributed sensing enablers
Microfabrication
Ocean Lab-on-a-chip Sensors

Increased human utilization of the world's oceans has made it important for industrialized countries to actively monitor marine environments. The ocean, like many aquatic environments, is presently under-sampled both spatially and temporally due to current approaches to data gathering. Expeditions are manual and labour intensive, relying on highly-qualified crews and highly-equipped ships that essentially equate to a "lab-on-the-ocean". Instead, we want to have the "lab-on-a-chip".

Our lab's research goals are centered around advanced microfabrication techniques for realizing in-situ chemical and biological sensors. We have pioneered several microfluidic sensors that are compact, low-cost, power efficient, and reliable enough to withstand deployment scenarios in harsh environments for extended timeframes. Our research efforts have been successfully ported into microfabricated instruments for genetic analysis, the first microfluidic nutrient and trace metal sensors deployed in the deep ocean, and the first commercialised microfluidic system for crude oil composition measurements.

The developed microsensors will be integrated with autonomous water vehicles and distributed networks, providing remote feedback on ocean chemistry and microbiology. Innovative in-situ sensors will enable us to safeguard human health, advance our knowledge of physico-chemical processes, and be made aware of environmental issues before they are harmful and costly to remediate.

Energy & Fluidics

The measurement of hydrocarbon fluid properties using microfabricated sensors is an emerging field of importance. Reservoir temperatures range from 80-250degC, with pressures up to 25 kpsi--combined these physical constraints present unique materials challenges. Further, the sensor must fit in an small 3-8in diameter tool for downhole deployment. In this field, we are exploring the utilization of plasmonics and optical metamaterials for sensing hydrocarbon fluid properties. Validation of the research relies on strong industrial collaborations.

Please visit our publications section or contact Prof. Sieben for details on these projects.