AQUATICsens – wAter QUAlity assessment using Fibre OpTICs SENSors


Lúcia Maria Botas Bilro

CESAM Responsible researcher

Alisa Rudnitskaya


Programa Operacional da Competitividade e Internacionalização (02/SAICT/2017)


01/06/2018 - 31/05/2021

Funding for CESAM

35964 €

Total Funding

239110 €

Proponent Institution

Instituto de Telecomunicações

Chemical pollution of surface water presents a threat to human health and aquatic environments, with possible effects such as losses of habitats and biodiversity. Therefore, the European Union established a set of norms within the context of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), obligating EU Member States to implement the necessary measures for achieving good physic-chemical status of surface water bodies. The monitoring of the surface water status is of fundamental importance for two reasons: (i) improving the knowledge and understanding of the sources and processes of pollution by the priority substances; and, thereby, (ii) for modeling these processes, which allows development of the efficient strategies to reduce the levels of pollution to below the upper tolerance limits and mitigate their possible effects . The current state of the art, for the determination of water contamination by e.g. pesticides, sees the exploitation of laboratory analyses carried out on water samples collected from the field. Also, the monitoring of the relevant parameters in the surface waters is constrained by a variety of factors, specifically by the availability and cost of the commercial sensor systems. Fibre-optics based sensors and, in particular, those using plastic optical fibers (POFs) are now widely recognized to offer various strong arguments over traditional methods of sensing. Their advantages include not only low costs but also possibility of multiplexing and remote monitoring, and their ruggedness under harsh conditions. In spite of important advances in the last couple of years, the deployment of optical fiber sensors in field research or in operational environmental monitoring programs has so far hardly been explored. Also, certain aspects of water quality assessment such as pollution by organic compounds appear to have received very little research attention. The present project aims to a major goal for the human health and environmental issues: DEVELOPMENT OF NEW MONITORING PLATFORM FOR SCREENING THE QUALITY OF WATERS. Therefore, the envisaged platform should be able to operate in a user-friendly manner, allowing accurate and fast screening of contaminants load in waters, increasing the overall success of the current used protocols, with a strong and obvious social and economic impact. The team combines and completes successfully the knowledge and experience of scientists from several complementary domains within the scope of this proposal. For the experimental implementation, IT’s optical laboratories have all the specialized equipment necessary for the characterization and testing of components in optical systems, whereas the CESAM laboratories are fully equipped for the foreseen analytical characterization of the samples and for the development of new sensor materials. CESAM’s catchment network provides ideal conditions for the collection of field samples and their characterization from a hydro-meteorological point-of-view.

CESAM members in the project

Alisa Rudnitskaya

Investigadora Auxiliar