Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



On April 20th 2010, the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history happened in the Gulf of Mexico. It is estimated total more than 4 million barrels oil spilled to Gulf of Mexico. More than two million gallons had been used. This had made the threat to coastal and sea ecosystem even greater and long term. Real-time monitoring is also a critical topic for oil spill response. In-situ monitoring devices are needed for rapid collection of real-time data. A new generation of instruments for spilled oil detection is reported in this paper. The main hypothesis in this research is that the sensitivity of the new instrument based on a micro-fluidic-optic chip can be higher than its conventional sized counterparts. The adoption of the micro-fluidic-optic chip helped to miniaturize the sample extraction unit and also to integrate the optical detection on the same chip substrate. Only the monitoring and displaying unit and the power supply were external to the micro-fluidic-optic chip. In this way, the micro-fluidic-optic chip is replaceable and can be disposable. This also helps to eliminate the need for cleaning the fluidic components, which may be very difficult in micro-scales because of surface tension and flow resistances. Liquid-Liquid extraction unit for sample pre-concentration and micro-optic components for fluorescence detection are the key microfluidic components and have been designed and fabricated on a single disposable chip. In the Liquid-Liquid extraction system, different designs are compared and electromagnetically actuated micro-valves and peristaltic pumps have been designed and fabricated to control the aqueous sample fluid and the organic phase solution. In the micro-optic detection system, different designs are compared and an out-of-plane lens was designed, fabricated, and integrated to enhance the measurement sensitivity. The experimental results of the integrated system have proved that the liquid-liquid extraction functioned very well and the overall measurement sensitivity of the system has been increased more than six hundred percent. An overall oil detection sensitivity blow 1ppm has been achieved. The research work presented in this dissertation has proved the feasibility of this novel oil detection instrument based on micro-fluidic-optic chip. This detection system may also be used for detection of other samples that can be measured based on fluoresce principles.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Wang, Wanjun