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Preserving Protein Function Via Statistically Random Heteropolymers

Protein-based materials have the potential to change the current paradigm of materials science. However, it still remains a challenge to preserve protein hierarchical structure and function while making them readily processable. Protein structure is inherently fluid, and it is this property that contributes to their fragility outside of their native environment. Through the use of rationally designed statistically random heteropolymers, it is possible to stabilize proteins at each hierarchical level and process them in organic solvents, a common need for materials fabrication. The chemical and architectural complexities of statistically random heteropolymers provide a modular platform for tunable protein-polymer-solvent interactions. This provides opportunities not offered by small molecule surfactants or amphiphilic block copolymers. Through evaluation of horseradish peroxidase and green fluorescent protein structure, we show that statistically random heteropolymers can stabilize enzymes. Allowing for activity retention when stored in organic solvent, over 80% activity was observed after 24 hours. Furthermore, horseradish peroxidase and chymotrypsin proteins, when encapsulated in statistically random heteropolymers, are still accessible to their substrates while remaining inaccessible to the denaturing organic solvent. Statistically random heteropolymers have potential in creating stimuli-reponsive materials and nanoreactors composed of proteins and synthetic materials.

Predictive Controller that Optimizes Energy and Water Used to Cool Livestock

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a controller that applies environmental data to optimizing operations of livestock cooling equipment.

Low-Cost Paper-Based Microfluidic Diagnostic Device

Prof. Mulchandani and his colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a new paper-based microfluidic platform for the simple and low-cost fabrication of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT)-based chemiresistive nanobiosensor arrays for multianalyte sensing from a single small volume sample that may be used as point-of-care diagnostic for a variety of purposes, including healthcare, food safety, environment, etc. This device is created by utilizing a wax printer to construct well-defined hydrophobic barriers for equal splitting and delivery of fluid and an inkjet printer to fabricate chemiresistors using a water-based SWNT ink on a paper substrate. Currently, the quantitative and selective detection of both human serum albumin (HSA) and human immunoglobulin G (hIgG) simultaneously in urine has been demonstrated by UCR. This paper-based chemiresistive biosensor is easy to fabricate, and designed for cost-effective, rapid, sensitive and selective detection of  analyte(s) of interest. This technology provides a platform for automated, disposable paper-based point-of-care diagnostics with multiplexed detection capability and microfluidic controls. Fig 1: A 3D microfluidic multiplexed paper-based biosensor array device.

Development Of Biosensors For Drought Stress In Plants

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a prototype biosensor that can monitor detectable levels of hormones present in plants experiencing drought or other environmental stress.

Colorimetric Detoxifying Sensors for Fumigants and Aerosol Toxicants

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a colorimetric sensor than can detect and detoxify fumigants simultaneously. 

Real-time, Passive Non-Line-of-Sight Imaging with Thermal Camera by Exploiting Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed a Non-line-of-sight (NLOS) Imaging System using low cost thermal cameras that enable 3D recovery of NLOS heat source for imaging around corners.

In Situ Soil Nitrate Sensor

The invention is used for determining in-situ nitrate concentrations in soil solution using either ISE (Ion Selective Electrode) or fiber optic spectroscopy when the liquid in the porous cup of the in-situ probe is equilibrated with surrounding soil solution through the diffusion process.

Ultra-Sensitive Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Detector

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a common brominated flame retardant, which are commonly found in consumer products. Because they are not chemically bound to polymers, PBDEs are blended in during formation and have the ability to migrate from products into the environment.  Studies suggest that PBDEs pose potential health risks such as hormone disruptors, adverse neurobehavioral toxins and reproductive or developmental effects.  For this reason it is important to have the capability to sense the presence of PBDEs even in low concentrations.

Near-Zero Power Fully Integrated CMOS Temperature Sensor

With the planned proliferation of the Internet-of-Things, billions of power limited wireless sensing devices are expected to be sold worldwide.  Within that group is a large subset of applications in which temperature sensing will be important.  Needed for this application space are ultra-small and ultra-low-power temperature sensors. 

Hydrogel Thin Film-Based Dynamic Structural Color System for Sensing, Camouflage, and Adaptive Optics

UCLA researchers from the Department of Material Science and Engineering have developed a novel hydrogel color system that can be used for dynamic sensing, camouflage, and adaptive optics.

Nano Biosensing System

Metabolites can provide real-time information about the state of a person’s health. Devices that can detect metabolites are commercially available, but are unable to detect very low concentrations of metabolites. Researchers at UCI have developed surfaces that use nanosensors to detect much lower concentrations of such metabolites.

Air Quality Monitoring Using Mobile Microscopy And Machine Learning

UCLA researchers have developed a novel method to monitor air quality using mobile microscopy and machine learning.

Automatic Personal Daily Activity Tracking

Researchers at UCI have developed an entirely unobtrusive method for chronicling and analyzing an individual’s daily activities over time, which relies on tracking user activity via their smartphone. This technology has important applications in health and behavior monitoring, where it can be used to signal the early stages of various diseases and disorders.

Ultra-Durable Concrete with Self-Sensing Properties

Concrete is a major material component for transportation, energy, water, and building infrastructure systems. UCI researchers have developed a new class of concrete materials with extraordinarily high damage tolerance and improved properties for long-term health monitoring.

Colorimetric Sensing Of Amines

An affordable and easily synthesized indicator that can be applied to monitor reaction progress in a system using only one inexpensive and non-toxic agent.

Accelerating palladium nanowire hydrogen sensors using engineered nanofiltration layers

Researchers at UCI have developed a method for enhancing existing hydrogen gas sensors, leading to as much as a 20-fold improvement in sensor response and recovery times.

Portable waterborne pathogen detector

The inventors at the University of California, Irvine, have developed an automated, easy-to-use digital PCR system that can be used at the time of sample collection, making it highly effective in microbial pathogen analysis in resource-limited settings and extreme conditions.

A New and Cost-Effective Technology to Produce Hybrid-Glass/Optical Bubble Probes

The ability to accurately quantify gas volumes in liquid flows has important applications in environmental science and industry. For example, environmental processes that significantly contribute to changes in earth’s climate, such as methane seeps from the sea floor and the exchange of gases between the ocean and atmosphere at the sea surface, demand precise sensors that are small and sensitive enough to measure the ratio of liquids and gases in these bubbly mixtures. These measurements also play a critical role in the operational efficiency of a wide variety of different engineering processes. Applications include, the monitoring the optimal amount of bubbled oxygen in the treatment of waste water and sewage, and the oil and gas industry, especially in undersea oil pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico alone, have spent billions of dollars annually on added refinement techniques to remove seawater that could be preventable if sensors were able to measure the ratio of crude oil, seawater and gas as the mixture is pumped through pipelines. These challenges exist in both research and industry because the current manufacturing process for making the needed gas/liquid probes have significant cost constraints. Clearly, there is a need for a new and cost-effective technology to produce these probes.

Combined Greywater-Storm Water System With Forecast Integration

Water is a scarce resource in some part of the United States, and recent droughts in the Midwest and the South have elevated the issue of water scarcity to a national level. Existing water sources will face increasing strain due to population growth and climate change, and financial and regulatory barriers will prevent the development of new sources. One method to alleviate water scarcity is storm water capture. Storm water can be used for non-potable applications such as irrigation, laundry, and toilet flushing to significantly reduce domestic municipal water consumption. However, in arid regions of the US, rain comes in short, intense storms only a few months out of the year, and the duration and intensity of these storms require large storage tank volumes for storm water capture to be financially feasible.    One solution is to integrate storm water capture with greywater capture. Greywater is a reliable source of water for domestic reuse, and includes water from washbasins, laundry, and showers (kitchen sinks and water for toilet flushing are considered blackwater). Combining greywater-storm water in the same collection system allows for a much smaller storage tank. A UC Berkeley researcher, along with other researchers, have developed aforecast-integrated automated control system for combined greywater-storm water storage and reuse. A simple and reliable approach for managing greywater and storm water collection at a household or community level is provided, allowing for the near-continuous monitoring and adjustment of water quantity and quality in a combined greywater-storm water storage tank based on monitored feedback/output from individual, tank-specific sensors and/or sensors located elsewhere in the water collection system.   

Novel Sensor to Transduce and Digitalize Temperature Utilizing Near-Zero-Power Levels

Temperature sensors are routinely found in devices used to monitor the environment, the human body, industrial equipment, and beyond. In many such applications, the energy available from batteries or the power available from energy harvesters is extremely limited, thus the power consumption of sensing should be minimized in order to maximize operational lifetime.

The Flying Wing Autonomous Underwater Glider Technology

The underwater glider can be categorized as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that does not rely on an electrically driven propeller, but relies on small changes in its buoyancy and wings to move up and down. The pitch and roll is controlled by using an adjustable ballast. The AUV has been quite useful for collecting oceanographic data due to its unique propulsion system that uses very little energy and its ability to be on a sampling mission for weeks to months.

Quantification Of Plant Chlorophyll Content Using Google Glass

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have invented a novel device that can quantify chlorophyll concentration in plants using a custom-designed Google Glass app.

Mechanical Process For Creating Particles Using Two Plates

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Physics and Astronomy have developed a novel method to lithograph two polished solid surfaces by using a simple mechanical alignment jig with piezoelectric control and a method of pressing them together and solidifying a material.

Determining Oil Well Connectivity Using Nanoparticles

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry have developed a method of using nanowires to detect underground fluid reservoir interconnectivities and reservoir contents with high accuracy.

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