One floor of the Wetsus building is completely dedicated to the research. The floor plan consists of almost 500 m2 laboratory, divided in analytical, biological, chemical and synthesis laboratories. All analyses in the analytical lab are being performed by a team of chemical and research analysts that can support PhD’s in their research.
In the fully equipped, central lab there’s the opportunity for all researchers and their students to perform wet chemical work using different weighing techniques, filter units, centrifuges, cuvette tests etc., but also preparing samples for the analytical laboratory. Besides 3 large island tables there are 4 fume hoods and safety cabinets available to work with organic liquids or other harmful products in a safe way.
The biological part of the laboratories is divided in a molecular, microbiology and virology part. All different techniques and methods are supported by a team of 3 specialists who run and support the biology department.
The beating heart of the building is the experimental hall of Wetsus, which consists of 600 m2 working space for approximately 80 researchers. All research set-ups are built in close cooperation with the technical department. The experimental hall is split up by 7 pairs of walk-in closets separated from the hall itself for the prevention of odor nuisance or risk for the surroundings due to their hazardous nature. Both the researchers and the technical department have their own workshop for constructing and adjusting set-ups.
In the basement a laserlab and miscroscope room of together 70 m2 are realized on a special treated non-vibrational floor.
For a complete overview of available analytical equipment and research facilities click here.
A few instruments are listed below.
Flow cytometry offers the possibility to measure and analyze various physical parameters (size, granularity or internal complexity, fluorescence intensity of particles (usually cells)) in fluids simultaneously. This is achieved by passing the fluid through a beam of light (usually a laser, there are also systems with a variety of laser light sources). The light illuminates the fluorescent particles in the fluid (cells labeled with fluorescent stains) which results in a detectable light signal. At Wetsus, flow cytometry measurements are carried out on a Merck-Millipore guava easyCyte 8HT instrument.
High speed visualization and high speed thermography
High speed cameras can record events at many thousand frames per second allowing the researcher to study very fast events in detail. Thermography, on the other hand enables the researcher to see infrared radiation, thereby providing a method to visualize temperature distributions. Using modern detector technology based on Indium-Gallium-Arsenide (InGaAs), Indium-Antimonide (InSb) and Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT), both technologies can be combined into high-speed thermographic cameras which allow a high thermal, spatial and temporal resolution. At Wetsus, a Photron SA-1 high speed camera for the visual wavelength range and a specially designed long-wave IRCAM Equus high speed IR camera are available.
Phase sensitive impedance analysis
Impedance spectroscopy is a useful tool for non-destructive and real time measurements of all kind of aqueous samples, from salt solutions to cell suspensions and a variety of biological tissues, even living organisms like bacteria, algae or aquatic worms. Thereby the electric properties of the sample in terms of impedance and phase response dependent on the frequency are measured. At Wetsus, impedance analysis is carried out with an Applied Biophysics ECIS Z-theta instrument.
Optical Metrology Laboratory
The Wetsus Optical Metrology Laboratory (OML) is a state of the art optical research facility dedicated to water research, and the only of its kind in Europe. The OML is designed as a user facility whereby short-term projects as well as full PhD thesis research can be conducted and supported by in-house expertise and advanced instrument technology. In addition to the optical workstations, the OML has a growing library on physical and optical methods to assist researchers in creating innovative measurement solutions to overcome the challenges in modern water research.
The facility has four primary workstations:
- Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) which allows the tracking of particles in a flow field. This allows researchers the opportunity to compare their real systems with computer models
- Fiber optic and photonics integrated circuit workstation. Many different laser colors can be combined and coupled to photonics integrated circuits (PICs) which like the computer chip revolution holds promise to change the face of water sensing technology. This work is being performed in collaboration with Lionix of Enschede.
- Optical prototyping and imaging workstation. This area allows users to build, test, and validate custom optical systems for use in research. Computer aided design software is available as well as a large catalog of lenses and optical mechanics to permit rapid prototyping and use in experiments. Recently a fiber endoscope fluorescence microscope was built at this workstation and is now undergoing testing which will allow the investigation of microbial communities inside water treatment modules (e.g. microbial fuel cells, membrane modules) while under operating conditions.
- Time-resolved interferometry and high resolution spectroscopy workstation. This advanced instrument allows researchers to probe the molecular dynamics of liquids in real operating systems. It provides a clear image of not only what is happening in regards to chemical processes but also where it is happening and how quickly. The instrument provides both large area viewing as well as microscopic analysis of samples.