University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32215
Fax: (519) 746-8115
Professor Steven J. Rehse
Department of Physics, University of Windsor
There is a well-known and urgent need in the fields of medicine, environmental health and safety, food-processing, and defense/security to develop new 21st Century technologies for the rapid and sensitive identification of bacterial pathogens. In only the last five years, the use of a real-time elemental (atomic) analysis performed with laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has made tremendous progress in becoming a viable technology for rapid bacterial pathogen detection and identification. In this talk I will introduce the technique of LIBS and I will show how this laser-based optical emission spectroscopic technique is able to sensitively assay the elemental composition of bacterial cells in situ. As well as giving a survey of the field, I will also present the latest achievements of our lab to fully develop LIBS-based bacterial sensing including simulation of a rapid urinary tract infection diagnosis and investigation of a variety of autonomous multivariate analysis algorithms. Lastly, I will show how this technology is now ready to be transitioned from the laboratory to field-portable and potentially man-portable instrumentation. The introduction of such a technology into popular use could very well transform the field of bacterial biosensing – a market valued at approximately $10 billion world-wide.