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Full Name: Broadband tunable QCL based sensor for online and inline detection of contaminants in water

Duration: 1/1/2017-1/1/2021


  • Fraunhofer IAF
  • Fraunhofer IPMS
  • VIGO system
  • TU Wien
  • Quantared
  • KWR
  • OMV


  • AQUARIUS (Broadband Tunable QCL based Sensor for Online and Inline Detection of Contaminants in Water) aims to provide an on- and inline capable mid-IR sensing solution to meet legal provisions for industrial waste water and drinking water monitoring. Significant enhancement in sensitivity will be achieved by further advancement of the laser source and the detector as well as an innovative combination of sample extraction and preparation with polymer functionalized waveguides. The AQUARIUS sensing solution is planned to be developed along the entire value chain towards integration in industrially proven online devices for water control driven by strong industrial commitment in this consortium.
  • Fresh water is essential for human wellbeing and plays an important role in the world economy, its quality being regulated by national and international legislation. Whereas water is the most abundant substance on the Earth's surface and essential for all forms of life and used in almost every industrial process, directly or indirectly, fresh water comprises only a small fraction of the total amount of water. Therefore, ensuring good quality of this resource is paramount. The quality of fresh water can differ significantly. The variety and concentration of chemical species in the aquatic systems can be quite diversified, presenting a challenge in terms of both water purification strategies and water quality control. These contaminants are a challenge to the water sector. Thousands of these compounds are used every day and new ones are continually put on the market. Increasingly effective laboratory detection techniques are revealing the presence, in surface water for instance, of low concentrations of contaminants, whose presence was previously unknown. To assure a safe environment, novel water monitoring technologies are needed for all types of water including process water, waste water, sewage as well as drinking water. These new technologies shall enable pervasive water monitoring which can replace and compliment currently employed laboratory based offline methods by online or inline monitoring strategies.
  • The AQUARIUS project addresses the development of a new generation of photonic sensing solution, in response to the need for pervasive sensing for a safer environment. In particular, components, modules, sub-systems and systems shall be developed for enhanced sensitivity and specificity measurements in water monitoring following the requirements of regulatory bodies, as well as the needs of selected end-users such as waterworks and the oil producing industry. Specifically addressed within the AQUARIUS project is the detection of hydrocarbon contaminations in water (Oil-in-Water contaminations). AQUARIUS aims to provide improved on- and inline sensors in terms of quality and effectiveness, allowing for a reliable and continuous real-time monitoring on site. The new sensors will become possible by the use of a new class of external cavity (EC) quantum cascade lasers (QCL) and detectors.

INTEC's Role:

  • Development of a Ge-on-Si waveguide circuit for the evanescent sensing of hydrocarbons in water.

Project Web site:

People involved

Research topics involved

Publications in the framework of this project (7)

    International Journals

  1. N. Teigell Beneitez, Bettina Baumgartner, Jeroen Missinne, S. Radosavljevic, Dominik Wacht, Stefan Hugger, Paweł Leszcz, Bernard Lendl, G. Roelkens, Mid-IR sensing platform for trace analysis in aqueous solutions based on a germanium-on-silicon waveguide chip with a mesoporous silica coating for analyte enrichment, Optics Express, 28(18), p.27013-27027 doi:10.1364/OE.399646 (2020)  Download this Publication (2.1MB).
      International Conferences

    1. B. Baumgartner, N. Teigell Beneitez, Jeroen Missinne, S. Radosavljevic, Dominik Wacht, G. Roelkens, Bernhard Lendl, Porous Silica Enrichment Films on Integrated Waveguides for Broadband Mid-IR Spectroscopic Trace Analysis , OSA Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress 2021 (invited), (2021).
    2. N. Teigell Beneitez, Bettina Baumgartner, Jeroen Missinne, Bernhard Lend, Gunther Roelkens, Broadband Integrated Waveguide Sensor for trace analysis in the fingerprint Mid-IR range, SCIX2020, (2020).
    3. N. Teigell Beneitez, Jeroen Missinne, S. Radosavljevic, Bettina Baumgartner, Bernhard Lendl, G. Roelkens, Integrated Mid-IR Waveguide Sensor for Laser Based Trace Analysis in Aqueous Solutions, Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress, Canada, (2020).
    4. G. Roelkens, III-V/Si mid-infrared photonic integrated circuits and its applications, SPIE Photonics West Conference (invited), 11284, United States, p.paper 11284-46 (2020).
    5. J. Missinne, N. Teigell Beneitez, N. Mangal, J. Zhang, A. Vasiliev, J. Van Campenhout, B. Snyder, G. Roelkens, G. Van Steenberge, Alignment-tolerant interfacing of a photonics integrated circuit using back-side etched silicon micro lenses, SPIE Photonics West, United States, p.paper 10923 (7 pages) doi:10.1117/12.2506159 (2019)  Download this Publication (714KB).
    6. S. Radosavljevic, B. Kuyken, G. Roelkens, A Fiber-to-Chip Grating Coupler for the Ge-on-Si Platform at 5μm wavelength, European Conference on Integrated Optics (ECIO), Netherlands, p.T2.4 (2017)  Download this Publication (584KB).