Affordable On-Demand Testing of Water Contamination Using a Portable Nanoelectronic Lead Detector

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-REG41

Fiscal Year: 2018/2019

Status: In Progress

Principal investigator(s): Kelly Francisco, Ph.D. (PI), Rutgers; Mehdi Javanmard, Ph.D. (Co-PI), Rutgers CAIT

Performing organization(s): Rutgers CAIT

Managing organization: Rutgers CAIT

In cooperation with: NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Partner project manager: Sandra M. Goodrow, Research Scientist

Supported by: USDOT-OST-R

UTC, grant, or agreement no.: 69A3551847102


Recent issues regarding lead in urban drinking water system have arisen. Specifically, the water distribution system in Newark, NJ has attracted a great deal of attention prompting the City and State DEP to conduct widespread testing and even distribution of water treatment devices and bottled water. The water distribution is aged and contains lead fittings that may impact water quality. The primary goal of this study is to develop and deploy a rapid, accurate lead sensing system for lead analysis in drinking water. In addition to accuracy, it is expected to demonstrate that the system can be used to sample a high volume of samples in a field setting with all of the difficulties that may come along with it.

The intended outcome of the project is a new portable electronic sensing platform for rapidly testing lead in water samples. The prototype developed during this research will be a potentially marketable product that will tap into a global market for water testing and analysis instruments valued at $3.5 billion in 2019. An on-site demonstration will be scheduled at the end of this project for various stakeholders to inform them of the availability and potential to this type of sensing system.