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Grant Program: A Green Fieldable Analyzer for Arsenic
Grant Agency: National Science Foundation
Grant Project Number: 0456120
Period of Performance: 02/15/2005 through 01/31/2008
Grant Amount: $353,000
Contact Information: Purnendu Dasgupta (PI) sandyd@ttu.edu Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 806-742-3884

Professor Purnendu Dasgupta of Texas Tech University aims to develop a new environmentally friendly tool for the analysis of various arsenic species in groundwater samples and drinking water sources. Most fieldable arsenic detectors involve the use of the toxic chemicals lead and mercury. Further, most test kits are not suitable for analyzing arsenic below 10 microgram/L (the current acceptable level set by WHO), and the method developed in this work will improve this sensitivity. The instrument is based on sequential injection (for speciation), zone fluidics (for hydride generation), and gas phase chemiluminescence (for detection). The integrated arsenic analyzer includes concentration and separation of arsenic species with ion exchange cartridges, electrooxidation of As(III) to As(V), electroreduction of As(V) to arsine with an electrolytic arsine generator, membrane-based electrodialytic salt splitter, and enhanced ozone generation by electrical discharge and oxygen feed. It only requires the use of NaCl and electricity to enable analysis of arsenic at the sub-microgram/L levels. With a preliminary setup, the PI achieved detection limits of around 0.1 ppb using only a 2 mL sample. By adjusting acidity, he can distinguish between arsenic(III) and arsenic(V), and he can detect organic arsenic species. The method being developed here would be applicable to field work in the rural areas of India and Bangladesh.