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New AI Technology Instantly Detects Nanoplastics in Water

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A team led by McGill University has created a new technology that can quickly find tiny pieces of plastic in water. This technology can spot and identify nanoplastics in water in just a few milliseconds, much like finding a needle in a haystack.

The research, “Nanoplastics in water: Artificial intelligence-assisted 4D physicochemical characterization and rapid in situ detection,” was published in Environmental Science & Technology.

Microplastics are pieces of plastic between 1 micrometer and 5 millimeters, about the size of a grain of rice. Nanoplastics are much smaller. For example, a human hair is about 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers wide, but a nanometer is just 0.000001 millimeters.

“This technology can change how we track and manage plastic pollution, helping to protect our environment,” said Parisa Ariya, the lead author and professor at McGill.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) says that about 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes every day. Studying the impact of nanoplastics has been hard because of the limits of old detection methods.

The new AI-powered technology allows for real-time analysis of plastic pollution. This innovation, called “AI-Assisted Nano-DIHM,” has gained attention from experts since it was first revealed.

A Useful Tool for Finding Pollution “Our research shows that AI-Assisted Nano-DIHM can automatically find and identify nanoplastics and microplastics, even when they are covered in other particles. This gives us a better understanding of plastic pollution in water,” said Ariya.

This technology is a useful tool for finding and dealing with pollution “hotspots.” Early tests in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River show that AI-Assisted Nano-DIHM can identify micro- and nanoplastics in water.

Developed with the National Research Council of Canada, this groundbreaking technology is a significant step forward in environmental monitoring.

Source: phys