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17 december 2018

Closed Industrial Partnership Programme

Number i25.
Title Spectroscopic analysis of particles in water (SAPW) 
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Dr.ir. H.L. Offerhaus 
Duration 2010-2015
Cost estimate M€ 1.2
Partner(s) Wetsus, various industrial partners  

The study of the dynamics and reactions of solutes and particles in water requires non-invasive techniques that are preferably label-free. These requirements are met by optical probing techniques. This IPP aims at developing and using these techniques to study the behaviour of water near water-purifying membranes/surfaces, ion-selective membranes, the early formation of calcium (scaling) in water and the detection of pathogens in water.

All projects are aimed at the purification and quality control of water and have a strong appli­cation perspective. The studies will result in new water-purifying and ion-selective mem­branes, new purification approaches and anti-fouling strategies, and new approaches for detecting low-concentration particles. In this programme we combine detailed knowledge of femtosecond nonlinear optical techniques, of water behaviour and of water-purifying and ion-selective membranes, putting us in an excellent position to make significant progress in the purification and quality control of water.

Background, relevance and implementation
Water technology, process technology of water and water management has a long history in the Netherlands. The Netherlands play an important international industrial role in many technologies connected to water such as dredging, shipwreck salvation, and dike construction but also in purification and irrigation. Access to clean drinking water is expected to become a political issue in the next decade due to climate changes and industrial expansion. Funda­mental research of water and particulates in water is required to meet increasing demands on water safety and keep the Dutch water technology industry in a leading position.

Much about the fundamental behaviour of water is still unknown. It is clear that the water molecules determine much of the behaviour of particles in water but how the arrangement of the water molecules influences the charge transport or the molecular reactions is an area of active research. What forces allow for the existence of 'water bridges', stable centimeter-long threads of water that form in the presence of a high voltage, remains a mystery. The way in which cellular membranes manage to selectively address different ions is of key importance for cell biology and of great potential to water technology. The prevalence of water is both a blessing and a problem; water cannot be labeled or substituted without inducing major changes. To study water in its natural state non-invasive approaches such as optical techniques are required.

The final evaluation of this programme consisted of a self-evaluation initiated by the Programme Committee and was carried out in 2015.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.