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Grant Program: A Hybrid Electronic Tongue for Geoenvironmental Site Characterization (NSF 2010 Standard Grant)
Grant Agency: NSF
Grant Project Number: 1031505
Period of Performance: 09/01/2010 through 08/31/2013
Grant Amount: $374,859
Contact Information: University of Massachusetts Lowell Pradeep Kurup, PI, Pradeep_Kurup@uml.edu, 978-934-4723; Ramaswamy Nagarajan, Co-PI

This project will support the development of a novel 'electronic tongue cone penetrometer' for on-site characterization of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, copper, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, thallium, and zinc in soil and groundwater. The electronic tongue is a device that mimics the human gustatory system using microelectrode sensor arrays coupled with artificial intelligence for pattern recognition. The project will involve fundamental research to design and assemble materials for highly sensitive and broadly selective microelectrode sensors, followed by the development of conductometric and voltammetric techniques for the hybrid electronic tongue. In addition, intelligent machine learning models for multivariate data processing and interpretation will be developed for classification and quantification of heavy metals. Calibration chamber studies will be conducted to develop methods for analysis of heavy metals in aqueous soil samples. Finally, the microelectrode sensor arrays will be deployed in a field-rugged cone penetrometer to facilitate real-time geoenvironmental site characterization.