Flexible Electromagnetic Wave Sensors for Real-Time Assessment of Water Contaminants

Part of the Smart Sensors, Measurement and Instrumentation book series (SSMI, volume 7)


The implementation of The European Water Framework Directive has triggered the need for new methods and systems which enable the monitoring of chemical and biological pollutants in real time. A paradigm shift in water purification is proposed by rethinking the distribution strategy at point-of-use and developing decentralized purification methodology based on region specific contaminants. To achieve this, specific metering, intelligent monitoring and control techniques are needed that would form part of intelligent building systems monitoring and feedback methods to enable improved operation and feedback at the design and construction process. The aim of this book chapter is to report on the development of a novel proof-of-concept type sensor for real-time monitoring of water composition. In particular, the change in the electromagnetic wave signal in microwave frequency range is used as an indicator of water purity. The sensing element was designed on a flexible substrate to provide for a long-term usage since this configuration is less prone to failure due to mechanical damage. This allows for a broad range of applications where a sensor could be mounted on any curved surface or even just placed bended in a tube or water pipe. Silver metal patterns in various configurations printed on this substrate acted as a sensor head. The developed system confirmed the viability of using microwaves for real-time water contaminants monitoring as the corresponding spectra for air, deionized and tap water were unique and clearly depicted a shift in the resonant frequencies of the sensor when it was placed in contact with water samples.


Water monitoring Real-time analysis Microwave sensor Flexible substrate Silver interdigitated pattern 



This work is financially supported by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme through the FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IEF Marie-Curie Action project 275201, Water-Spotcheck.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Korostynska
    • 1
  • A. Mason
    • 1
  • A. I. Al-Shamma’a
    • 1
  1. 1.Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research InstituteLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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