The adaption of needle-type electrochemical microsensor (or microelectrode) techniques to environmental science and engineering systems has transformed how we understand mass transport in biotic and abiotic processes. Their small tip diameter (5-20μm) makes them a unique experimental tool for direct measurements of analytes with high spatial and temporal resolutions, providing a quantitative analysis of flux, diffusion, and reaction rate at a microscale that cannot be obtained using conventional analytical tools. However, their applications have been primarily limited to understanding mass transport dynamics and kinetics in biofilms. With the advancement of sensor fabrication and utilization techniques, their potential applications can surpass conventional biofilm processes. In this dissertation, microsensors were utilized to elucidate mass transport and chemical reactions in multidisciplinary research areas including biological nutrient uptake, oily wastewater treatment, photocatalytic disinfection, and plant disease management, which have not yet explored using this emerging technology. The main objective of this work was to develop novel microsensors and use them for better understanding various natural and engineered aquatic systems. These include; 1) investigating localized photo-aeration and algal-bacterial symbiotic interaction in an advanced algal-bacterial biofilm process for nutrient removal from wastewater, 2) characterizing oil-in-water emulsions for better understanding bilge water emulsion stability, 3) evaluating sun-light driven photocatalytic reactions using a novel MoS2 nanofilm for water disinfection and microcystins-LR removal, 4) developing a zinc ion-selective microsensor and applying them for monitoring the transport of zinc in citrus trees, and 5) integrating heavy metal detection using anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV) in a microelectrode platform for plant applications. Overall, microsensors capable of measuring pH, oxidation-potential reduction (ORP), dissolved oxygen (DO), ammonia (NH3), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and zinc (Zn2+) were developed and applied to the systems described above to significantly contribute to a better understanding of interfacial transport mechanisms in various natural and engineered systems.
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Lee, Woo Hyoung
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Church, Jared, "Electrochemical Microsensors for In Situ Monitoring of Chemical Compounds in Engineered and Natural Aquatic Systems" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6370.