DOI: 10.3390/s23167271 ISSN:

A Glass-Fiber-Optic Turbidity Sensor for Real-Time In Situ Water Quality Monitoring

Chi Thanh Vu, Amir Ahmadi Zahrani, Lingze Duan, Tingting Wu
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Analytical Chemistry

Turbidity is an important water quality parameter, especially for drinking water. The ability to actively monitor the turbidity level of drinking water distribution systems is of critical importance to the safety and wellbeing of the public. Traditional turbidity monitoring methods involve the manual collection of water samples at set locations and times followed by laboratory analysis, which are labor intensive and time consuming. Fiber-optic measurement permits real-time, in situ turbidity monitoring. But the current technology is based on plastic fibers, which suffer from high optical attenuation and hence are unsuitable for large-scale remote monitoring. In this paper, we report the demonstration of a fiber-optic turbidity sensor based on multi-mode glass fibers. The system uses a single fiber to both deliver laser light into the water sample and collect the back-scattered light for detection. A balanced detection scheme is utilized to remove the common-mode noise to enhance the turbidity sensitivity. Highly linear turbidity responses are obtained and a turbidity resolution as low as 0.1 NTU is achieved. The test unit is also shown to have excellent reproducibility against repeated measurements and good stability against temperature changes. Turbidity measurement in real environmental matrices such as tap water and pond water is also reported with an assessment of the impact of flow rate. This work demonstrates the feasibility of future large-scale distributed fiber-optic turbidity monitoring networks.

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