Some bacteria can contaminate drinking water and cause death in some who consume it. Hence the importance of quickly detecting these bacteria before they ever make their way into our glasses.

There currently exist water analysis methods that yield results within 1 to 10 days. Seeking a real time, mobile and inexpensive detection unit with the sensitivity to detect dangerous bacteria, which are generally found in low concentrations, Quebec industrialists called on Jan Dubowski, professor at the University of Sherbrooke and Canada Research Chair in Quantum Semiconductors.

The research team perfected a sensor based on quantic semiconductors allowing the detection of specific bacteria in a record time of less than 120 minutes. Encouraged by these results, researchers are now working on the development of an effective, easy-to- use unit to control water quality in real time and detect harmful bacteria (e.g. E. coli).

In addition to providing greater speed and mobility, this technology will make it possible to detect a wide range of organic substances such as viruses toxins and different bacteria.

Learn more about this story