applications

in-line virtual sample preparation

WHAT WE DO

The ultrasound field generated with soniccatch enables the spatial manipulation of the initially in suspension dispersed particles into well-coordinated, small and concentrated areas. A variety of in-line sensors can then be used to obtain real-time in-line measurement data of the trapped fragments. The resulting signal yielded on these transient in-line samples is stable detailed and resembling that of sediments. At the same time, with the particles caught in the pressure nodes of the ultrasonic trap, the liquid media in the near surrounding is particle-free and can therefore be measured independently as well. This leads to an increased sensitivity, stability and selectivity of the analytical method thus facilitating supervision and analysis of the whole process in question

ADVANTAGES

- real-time measurements
- improved sensitivity, selectivity and stability
- in–line transient samples
- continuous process control
- fast and reliable data
- time and cost efficient
- reduced offline sampling
- compatible to a variety of sensors
- safe and easy to implement

TECHNOLOGIES COMPATIBLE WITH SONICCATCH

RAMAN Spectrometry, FTIR-(ATR) Spectrometry,

NIR Spectrometry, Process Microscopy, Process Refractometry, etc.

EXAMPLES

Depending on the probe it is coupled to, soniccatch can provide a multitude of advantages in terms of in-line sample measurements:

- real-time in-line measurements throughout a (continuous) process in a complex matrix
- catching and measuring solid particles/vesicles (various nature) in a liquid
- detecting live microorganisms in a liquid medium with an optical probe (e.g. ATR- FTIR, Raman, etc.)
- supervising a biological process and its separate components in a bioreactor (e.g. fermentation, biomass production, etc.)
- detecting cellular morphological and physiological changes throughout the different phases of a continuous process
- increasing selectivity by measuring liquid and solid components separately
- …

soniccatch-coupled ATR-FTIR Spectroscopy when detecting bacteria

The ATR technique is characterized by a small sensitive area (usually a few µm) at the crystal tip of the probe, where the IR beam can probe the sample (evanescent field). soniccatch can spatially manipulate particles into transient agglomerates and position them abundantly right at the evanescent field thus leading to a much more specific and stable ATR-FTIR signal of the analyte of interest, resembling that of sediments. In contrast, the particles can be removed from the sensitive area to obtain an interference-free measurement of the fluid.

Figure 1: The spectral region of interest (800-1800cm-1) derived from a soniccatch –coupled FTIR ATR probe with spectra gained when the ultrasound was: (blue) active, (green) inactive. The third spectra (violet) visible represents the difference of the other two for a better display of the spectral profile of the cyanobacteria and the bands of interest (e.g. Amide I, II and PHB).

soniccatch-equipped Raman spectroscopy during a fermentation process

What keeps on hindering a powerful process analysis tool, such as the RAMAN Spectrometer, from reaching its full potential, it is the low Raman cross-section, which leads to insufficient useful signal levels, especially when monitoring low concentrated compounds. Through soniccatch, the compound of interest can be concentrated into highly spatially coordinated aggregates at the focal point of the Raman probe. This enables a significant increase in sensitivity with an up to 100-fold higher contrast of the signal measured (solid vs. liquid). Our technology helps resolve the biggest hurdle of a RAMAN spectrometer and facilitate the application in a more robust manner, especially in in-line process monitoring systems (e.g. PAT – process analytical technologies).

Figure 2: (a) Preprocessed in-line Raman spectra of the fermentation medium (soniccatch inactive) over the course of the fermentation. (b) Specific glucose band showing its consumption by the yeast at the beginning of the fermentation. (c) In-situ preprocessed Raman spectra of the caught yeast cells (soniccatch active). (d) Intensity profile for a characteristic Raman band of organic compounds, as well as for water. The colored regions at the top of part (d) indicate whether soniccatch was active or not.

As shown in the figure above, the coupling of the in-line Raman sensor with soniccatch, enables a continuous and real-time monitoring of the yeast fermentation process. In this instance, the Raman sensor alone is sufficient to examine the clearly distinguishable phases the cells undergo during fermentation, as well as the multiple critical process parameters of their surrounding media.

rare particle detection & identification

WHAT WE DO

soniccatch can trap particles of different nature (e.g. micro-organisms, polymers, different solid organic and inorganic compounds, etc.) at a size of 1µm-150µm for concentrations as low as 0.001g/L. Therefore, it is possible to detect the presence of rare, and possibly unwanted particles in a suspension helping prevent any financial loss that might come with the time and resources invested in a product with signs of contamination early in the process. Similarly, in the early phases of crystallization, our product facilitates the early detection of the structure of the crystals forming. Besides playing a preventive role when it comes to rare particle detection, soniccatch can serve as well as a great tool to discover and analyze new, possibly unknown or unexpected particles leading to a better understanding of the whole process.

ADVANTAGES

- rare particle identification
- concentrations as low as 0.001g/L
- particle size as small as 1µm
- real-time measurements
- fast and reliable data
- compatible to a variety of sensors
- safe and easy to implement

TECHNOLOGIES COMPATIBLE WITH SONICCATCH

RAMAN Spectrometry, FTIR-(ATR) Spectrometry,

IR-ATR Spectrometry, Process Microscopy, Process Refractometry, etc.

EXAMPLES

In terms of detecting and identifying particles at very low concentrations, soniccatch can help the client in the following instances, depending on the probe it is coupled to:

- detecting unwanted solid particles/vesicles (different nature) in liquids during production

- identifying crystal formation in the initial phases of crystallization enabling structure analysis of the crystals formed

- detecting and analyzing microplastic particles during production or scientific studies

- detecting and identifying possible contaminants during or in the end of a chemical, biological or industrial process ensuring a higher end-product quality (e.g. in pharmaceutical/medical solutions)

- detecting and analyzing particles/vesicles as an end-product of a natural or artificial production process (e.g. in combination with lipidomic analysis)

- …

detecting crystal formation inside a crystallizer with soniccatch

soniccatch enables the detection of tiny, newly formed crystals by concentrating them into spatially coordinated transient aggregates. These crystal clusters can then be located at a desired position, such as the focus point of the optical probe (e.g. IR, Raman, in-line microscope, etc.), thus facilitating their structural analysis even at very low concentrations.

 

Figure 3: (Left) The photos taken by a soniccatch-coupled in-line microscope when the ultrasound was inactive/active. (Right) A photo of the crystals caught in the pressure nodes of the ultrasonic field when soniccatch is active.

detecting impurities in medical suspensions when soniccatch applied

Detection of any contaminating solid agents in suspensions used for medical and healthcare products. The application of soniccatch would ensure the clarity and asepsis of the end-product leading to an increase on the product quality and above all, product safety. Since our technology is designed to be used as an add-on in-line of a continuous process, it provides reliable data throughout the production procedure and enables steering already in the early phases of the production process (e.g. in the instance that the presence of an undesired agent is detected).

detecting particles at very low concentrations (dilution series) with soniccatch

In order to demonstrate the capacity of soniccatch to trap particles even at very low concentrations, a dilution series of household-starch suspended in water was performed. As shown in the figure below, independent of the concentration, the catching of the starch particles was stable and consistent thus resulting in a significantly higher signal acquired by the sensor coupled to our technology.

Figure 4: The concentration-dependent effect of soniccatch in a starch-water suspension. (Left) The ultrasound ON/OFF effect on the retrieved data, when focusing on a starch specific region of the spectra. (Right) The increase of sensitivity when the ultrasound is applied.

in-line detection of microplastics with the help of soniccatch

The accumulation of microplastic particles in our oceans, lakes, and drinking water has gained increasing attention in recent years. Although awareness has been raised, there does not yet exist a rapid, on-site testing method with the sensitivity and repeatability needed to identify or quantify the smallest, most abundant particles. Raman spectroscopy was paired with soniccatch to test a new ‘trap and detect’ method that may prove faster, easier, and far more convenient than the current ‘filter and scan’ method used in most Raman-based studies of microplastics. Testing with a 90ppm solution of 3.4 µm PMMA microspheres showed a clear and distinctive growth of the PMMA Raman signal as the particles were captured, leading to signal enhancement through ultrasonic capture of greater than 1500x.

Figure 5: (a) A reference of the spectral profile of the particles of interest (PMMA microspheres). (b)The detection of microplastic (3.5µm PMMA microspheres) in water, before(red) and after(blue) the activation of soniccatch.

de-bubbling

WHAT WE DO

Besides the indisputable advantages it offers as an add-on for a great variety of sensors, soniccatch can be applied on its own as well. An example for this would be the implementation of its abilities to generate highly controlled ultrasound fields, in order to remove any gas bubbles present in a liquid. The bubbles can be present from the very start of a process, originate during aeration of the liquid, or may be a normal side effect of the biochemical reactions taking place in the process itself. Independent of their origin, such gas bubble can impair different aspects of process control, especially when accumulated and attached to the surface of a sensor (e.g. in-line) thus leading to a discontinuity and an overall inaccuracy of the data delivered. Therefore, de-bubbling can be beneficial or even necessary to ensure a reliable and continuous data retrieval from the sensors of interest, a crucial factor when aiming for a higher efficiency, sensitivity and stability during the supervision and steering of the process in question.

ADVANTAGES

- removal of bothersome bubbles

- fast and reliable

- continuous process control

- time and cost efficient

- safe and easy to implement

TECHNOLOGIES COMPATIBLE WITH SONICCATCH

RAMAN Spectrometry, FTIR-(ATR) Spectrometry,

IR-ATR Spectrometry, Process Microscopy, Process Refractometry, etc.

EXAMPLES

soniccatch is beneficial for the improved retrieval of data via the sensor due to its ability to de-bubble liquid solutions or suspensions:

 - Stripping a liquid medium off air bubbles enabling high-precision measurements

sensor cleaning & maintenance

WHAT WE DO

The ultrasound field generated via sonicwipe or sonicclean enables the removal of contaminations or aggregates of different nature attached onto the measuring surface of different probe types coupled to them. By generating well-controlled ultrasonic waves on the sensor surface, aggregates are pushed away from the sensor surface and carried away via the current in the stream. The sensors coupled to either of our two products will continue to work uninterrupted, since the ultrasound used is not affecting their measurement and will continue to maintain the sensor surface clean. Therefore, both products can either be used to clean an already contaminated surface and its further upkeep regarding cleanness, or they can be applied much earlier on as a prevention tool avoiding any defiling of the sensor surface altogether. This improves the sensitivity, coherency, accuracy and the general quality of the data retrieved via an in-line sensor leading to a higher efficiency of the whole analytical device used by the client.

ADVANTAGES

- prevention and remediation of fouling

- real-time measurements

- continuous process control

- fast and reliable data

- time and cost efficient

- improved worker safety

- small, compact and adaptable

- compatible with a variety of sensors

TECHNOLOGIES COMPATIBLE WITH SONICWIPE

FBRM (Focus Beam Reflectance Measurement), high-end optical measurement methods, turbidity measurements, etc.

 

TECHNOLOGIES COMPATIBLE WITH SONICCLEAN

pH Sensors, O2 Sensors, etc.

The pictures below show that sonicwipe and sonicclean are compatible with probes of different natures, shape and size. When applying a sugar-gel layer on the sensor of the probe, be it a round shape (e.g. pH electrode; left with sonicclean), a flat shape (e.g. the O2 probe; middle with sonicclean) or a narrow measurement slit (e.g. NIR probe; right with sonicwipe), the effect of our technology is always consistent and stable. In a very short time, the sensors are wiped clean by ultrasound applied via our product, and with further and consistent/periodical application of the sound field, the further upkeep of the probes is ensured.

 


Figure 6: The different probe shapes sonicclean & sonicwipe is compatible with and helps to keep clean: round (e.g. pH electrode; left), flat (e.g. O2 probe; middle), and a narrow measurement slit (e.g. NIR probe; right).

EXAMPLES

In terms of improving measurements by removing any contaminations accumulated on the sensor-surface and its further upkeep regarding the issue, applying sonicwipe is exactly how your application can benefit from our technology and archive the desired goal, for example:

- remedying and further preventing contaminations (sugar/fruit or sugar/fat layer, inorganic scale) on the pH electrode, especially useful for the food & beverage, chemical and pharma industry

- supervision and steering of flocculation processes by removing and preventing fouling on optical probes (FBRM, turbidity, etc.)

- remedying and further maintaining the cleanness of an O2 probe in wastewater industry

- preventing contamination (petrochemical production-wastewater) of in-line probes in petrochemistry

- cleaning and further upkeep regarding cleanness of different sizes and shapes of sensors

- ...

keeping pH electrodes pristine with sonicclean

As one of the most common tools in PAT (process analytical technology), pH electrodes are found applied in an almost ubiquitous manner throughout various field, especially in chemical/biological processes. During a (continuous) production process possible contaminations can form on the membrane’s surface, which causes for the effectively measured pH values to not accurately correspond to the actual values present in the medium. This is where sonicclean comes into play, since it can clean the pH probe by exerting an ultrasound field onto it thus enabling a continuous retrieval of reliable and accurate data from the process medium.

Figure 7: In pictures captured timestamps showing different stages of contamination on the sonicclean-coupled pH-electrode after the activation of the ultrasound field. The graph above gives insight on the retrieval of accurate measurement data, derived from the pH electrode in the instance of a contamination, before and after the application of the ultrasonic field.

application of sonicwipe in the oil industry

For the purpose of proving the efficiency of our products, two sensor dummies (glass surface) were submerged in a flowing process liquid consisting of petrochemical production-water waste. Only one of the sensor dummies was coupled to sonicwipe, which was obvious in the end of the trial. In the end, both sensor-dummies were removed out of the process and their contamination degree was assessed by wiping their sensor surfaces with a piece of cloth. As shown in the pictures below, the one sensor that was under the influence of our technology showed almost no signs of contamination, in comparison to the other sensor-dummy where a full contamination of the sensor surface was observed.

Figure 8: The application of sonicwipe on one of the two dummies-probes inserted into a flowing petrochemical liquid waste process (left), and the difference on the degree of contamination with and without the application of ultrasound (right).

sonicwipe enables fouling free FBRM probes

By utilizing a moving laser beam that takes into consideration the chord length distribution, an FBRM (focus reflectance beam measurement) probe manages to monitor the particles of a process according to their size and shape. It is very sensitive to particles stuck on the measuring window, which results in an elevated fouling index. In order to demonstrate the cleaning effect of sonicwipe when coupled to it, the probe was first artificially contaminated in a typical fermentation broth. With the help of sonicwipe the FBRM probe could be cleaned effectively. The data retrieved throughout this whole experimental procedure are presented in the graph below using the above-mentioned fouling index, which represents the amount of sensor occlusion throughout the experiment.

Figure 9: A graph, from in-line measured data retrieved via an FBRM probe, showing the decrease in the fouling index on the sensor surface of the probe, before and after the activation of sonicwipe.

maintaining O2 probes fouling free through sonicclean

The influence of contaminations on the measurement data of O2-sensors is largely not considered. The measuring principle consists in observing the auto-fluorescence of an O2-sensitive layer. Contaminations block the path of the oxygen molecules and thus reduce the measured dissolved oxygen concentration. The resulting measurement drift (red) is difficult to distinguish from process-related changes. Hence, the process control system records the falsified information and draws sub-optimal conclusions based on this. For example, the aeration is then activated too often, which leads to an increased and unnecessary energy consumption. As fouling can occur very quickly, a high maintenance effort is sometimes required.

Thanks to sonicclean, a clean O2-sensor (green) provides accurate, reliable, and continuous process information in real time, which is of much advantage regarding process-technical and financial aspects, important for optimal plant operation.

Figure 10: The drift of the signal measure when there is a contamination (red) on the sensor-surface of the O2 probe, leads to the retrieval of inaccurate data regarding the process. This problem is resolved with the application of sonicclean, which enables the gathering of reliable data (green) from a clean sensor-surface.

further information

For a better understanding of how our products can help your application and the multiple advantages our technology provides when applied, please refer to the whitepapers of your interest, accessible through the following link:

 

Whitepapers

#1 “Vibrational Spectroscopy Applications”

#2 “pH Probe applications”

#3 “Enhanced Process Control for (Bio-) Processes”

read all whitepapers in our section "whitepapers & more"