(210a) Biofilm Prevention By UVC Side Emitting Optical Fibers | AIChE

(210a) Biofilm Prevention By UVC Side Emitting Optical Fibers


Lanzarini-Lopes, M. - Presenter, Arizona State University
Lanzarini-Lopes, M. - Presenter, Arizona State University
Westerhoff, P., Arizona State University
Westerhoff, P., Arizona State University
I have two main career goals that are related to (i) research and (ii) teaching. The first is to develop chemical free point of use water treatment device to ensure quality drinking water in both the United States and developing countries. I will work at the interface of basic science and industry to develop innovative and green technologies. The second goal is to educate diverse communities in STEM through a focus on water treatment and water resources. I will become a tenure track professor to both educate and develop a research team with a focus on photo-assisted water treatment.


The lack of appropriate disinfection strategies results in an estimated 502,000 diarrheal deaths each year. Germicidal ultraviolet-C (UVC) irradiation does not produce chlorinated DBPs and requires only electrical power for disinfection. UVC Light emitting diodes (LED) have promising characteristics for water treatment (e.g. lack of warm up time, tunable radiation, no degradation at on/off cycles and longer life of use). However, their small surface area of irradiation limits their integration into treatment reactors. To progress development and integration of photon driven water treatment my research interests includes (i) better distributing light from UV lamps, (ii) improving the quantum yields of reactions, and (iii) understanding consumer perception and desires related to water treatment technologies.

First I seek to integrate optical technologies into water treatment to increase uniform light delivery. By using a UV-C glowing optical fiber (Provisional Patent), I illustrated an increase of > 600 times in surface area of irradiation as part of my dissertation. As a tenure track faculty, I will develop point of use devices that use these optical fibers, and other highly reflective surfaces in collaboration with current industrial partners (i.e. AquaSense). Second, I will improve reaction quantum efficiency by fundamentally understanding wavelength specific photolysis mechanisms. Proteins, DNA, and organic bonds (pharmaceuticals) are prone to lysis at specific frequencies. By using LEDs, I will explore single and synergistic wavelength effects on both microorganisms and organic contaminants of interest. This understanding will lead to development of highly efficient LED water treatment reactors. Last, I seek to understand how community perception of water quality effects technology adaption and integration of point of use systems. I have established strong relationships with the director of health a downriver community of Colombia (Mompox). I have and will continue to work with them to ensure the technologies I develop are truly beneficial to consumers who do not have access to reliable municipally treated water. My research will transpose into (i) advancement of water treatment science and technology and (ii) increased quality of life in developing communities.


My main contribution as a professor will be to train the next generation of engineers to be leaders in both industry and academia. A tenure track position will enable me to accomplish this through both mentoring and teaching. By developing a research team, I will mentor graduate students to grow as well-rounded researchers and humans. I believe a dissertation or thesis is one piece of the graduate degree pie. I will encourage my students to fill the remaining pieces through opportunities such (but not limited to) (i) national and international internships (ii) leading outreach and service events, (iii) communicating their work with the general public, (iv) and organizing conference sessions. In addition to developing crucial soft skills, these opportunities facilitate knowledge transfer by allowing the student to better understand and communicate the broader impact of their fundamental research.

I hope to teach fundamental chemical engineering courses to tie technical concepts to my application driven teaching philosophy. I will challenge students to understand ethical and political dilemmas that are directly tied to technical classroom lectures. For example, in unit operations, I will use power plant CO2 scrubbers as examples to drive equation development of gas absorption. I will illustrate how manipulating the equation variables could influence both the efficiency and cost of CO2 scrubbers. I

will end the lecture with a brief discussion how politics has both encouraged and limited their integration in power plants over the years.

I will use the same philosophy in developing courses in nanotechnology, photo-assisted reactions, and advanced water treatment. My global experience with water treatment, strong industrial network, and active participation in the NSF Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) allow me to add impactful examples and discussions in these topics. The critical thinking skills developed through a chemical engineering degree is unparallel to any other. Those fundamental concepts rooted in broader impact can empower students to solve global problems.