National Oceanography Centre

Our team consists of a group of scientists and engineers working in the Ocean Technology and Engineering Group at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK, where we develop miniaturised in situ sensors and analysers for a number of chemical parameters. For the Nutrient Sensor Challenge we are entering our in situ nitrate and phosphate systems. These are miniaturised chemical analysers based on lab-on-chip technology. The lab-on-chip systems contain a complex network of microchannels (150 µm wide) fabricated on a polymer “chip”, which enables us to perform established wet chemical analysis methods in situ using microfluidics. The use of microfluidics allows us to minimise the overall size, reagent/sample volume and power consumption of the systems, meaning that we can deploy them in a variety of scenarios. The systems contain on-board calibration standard and blank solutions to maintain accuracy, and collect all liquid waste produced from the chemical analysis. From the outset, the systems were designed to work over the full range of environmental conditions expected in our oceans, river and estuaries. So far the sensors have been successfully deployed in a wide range of aquatic environments (rivers, estuaries, seafloor, shelf seas, glacial meltwater) and on a variety of platforms (bottom landers, seagliders, CTD rosettes). We look forward to demonstrating the capability of the sensors through the Nutrient Sensor Challenge Figure: NOC LOC sensors being deployed in the field.  The top part of the housing holds reagents and calibration solutions in bags, while the bottom part contains the chip.

Dr. Alex Beaton
Ocean Technology and Engineering Group
National Oceanography Centre
European Way
SO14 3ZH