Green to Develop Sensory Systems for Rapid Detection of Water Contaminants

December 18, 2020


Dr. Ryan Green and his team will be developing an amphibious unmanned ground vehicular sensory system for rapid detection of water contaminants.  A particular focus will be on polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are human-made chemicals and are commonly used in consumer goods, such as clothing, paper, plastic, carpet, etc. Moreover, PFAS are also commonly used in firefighting chemicals. Sadly, exposure to PFAS has led to liver disease, thyroid disease, and some forms of cancers. Consequently, it is imperative to develop methods that without exposing humans can extract, test, and analyze samples. In recent years, studies have revealed that humans at some critical infrastructures are being exposed to PFAS in drinking water. As such, quickly identifying these contaminants is critical – a call that Dr. Green and his team will answer, funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers. In this effort, Dr. Green is assisted by Dr. Robert Moorhead, who is the Billie J. Ball Professor in ECE, the Director of the Geosystems Research Institute, and a co-PI on this project.

“The idea came about when I ran across a news article about the concentration of PFAS in drinking water around military bases,” stated Dr. Green, Assistant Professor in ECE. “The challenge can be met similarly to how continuous monitoring systems work in the medical field: An electrochemical sensor measures an analyte at a regular interval, and this concentration is disseminated via a network. By bringing the laboratory to the field, the time between the sample collection and data dissemination can be greatly shortened. Shorter analysis time has great military and societal benefits for Mississippi, the United States, and the world.”

“Not only will Dr. Green’s research enable a practical solution to the pressing need, it will also open doors in utilizing unmanned vehicles for disaster recovery and specialized missions requiring extraction and testing of samples from myriad of mediums,” said Dr. Khan, the ECE Department Head.


For more information about Dr. Green, please visit his webpage.

For more information about Dr. Moorhead, please visit his webpage.

For more information about GRI, see the webpage.


The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Mississippi State University consists of 23 faculty members (including 7 endowed professors), 3 clinical faculty, 10 professional and support staff, and over 700 undergraduate and graduate students with approximately 88 being at the Ph.D. level. With research expenditure of the department in excess of $10M, the department houses the largest High Voltage Laboratory among North American Universities. For more detailed information on the department please visit our website