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Monitoring microplastics in our oceans

Photo of sources of microplastics and a fish on a blue background

Microplastics in our ocean waters are a growing problem—but how do you collect quick and effective measurements in situ, and at the depths needed to properly understand distribution, flow and uptake by ocean life? Filtration-based methods using FT-IR and Raman microscopy are well-proven, but work best for surface measurements where microplastic densities are higher. A collaboration of researchers from Japan and the UK are developing a compact, hybrid system using holography and Raman spectroscopy capable of in situ monitoring of particle size, shape and material—offering promise for monitoring at depths where sea life outnumbers the plastics.

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