Autonomous Microfluidic Chemical Analyzers

Miniaturized Autonomous Chemical Analyzers

Ship-based oceanic surveys of nutrients and trace metals have and will continue to advance our understanding of their cycles. However, many critical processes occur at spatial and temporal scales that cannot be resolved using the infrequent, fixed interval sampling of oceanographic cruises and shore-based monitoring programs. To investigate high-frequency signals and monitor trace metal and nutrient dynamics in remote regions, it is necessary to develop automated sensors and analyzers that can be deployed in situ for long periods. A promising approach is to miniaturize and automate the various steps involved in the spectroscopic determination of metals and nutrients using microfluidics. 


With collaborators from the University of Hawaii, JAMSTEC and SJSU’s College of Engineering, the Chemical Oceanography lab is developing a new generation of miniaturized nutrient and trace metal analyzers, which through their small size, minimal reagent use, and reduced maintenance requirements, meet the prerequisites for unattended operation. This work will culminate with novel automated shipboard analyzers and the deployment of prototype autonomous nutrient analyzers at the CenCOOS Moss Landing shore station.