Biofouling, the unwanted growth of biofilms on a surface, of water-treatment membranes negatively impacts in desalination and water treatment. With biofouling there is a decrease in permeate production, degradation of permeate water quality, and an increase in energy expenditure due to increased cross-flow pressure needed. To date, a universal successful and cost-effect method for controlling biofouling has not been implemented. The overall goal of the work described in this report was to use high-performance computing to direct polymer, material, and biological research to create the next generation of water-treatment membranes. Both physical (micromixers - UV-curable epoxy traces printed on the surface of a water-treatment membrane that promote chaotic mixing) and chemical (quaternary ammonium groups) modifications of the membranes for the purpose of increasing resistance to biofouling were evaluated. Creation of low-cost, efficient water-treatment membranes helps assure the availability of fresh water for human use, a growing need in both the U. S. and the world.
A novel hyperspectral fluorescence microscope for high-resolution 3D optical sectioning of cells and other structures has been designed, constructed, and used to investigate a number of different problems. We have significantly extended new multivariate curve resolution (MCR) data analysis methods to deconvolve the hyperspectral image data and to rapidly extract quantitative 3D concentration distribution maps of all emitting species. The imaging system has many advantages over current confocal imaging systems including simultaneous monitoring of numerous highly overlapped fluorophores, immunity to autofluorescence or impurity fluorescence, enhanced sensitivity, and dramatically improved accuracy, reliability, and dynamic range. Efficient data compression in the spectral dimension has allowed personal computers to perform quantitative analysis of hyperspectral images of large size without loss of image quality. We have also developed and tested software to perform analysis of time resolved hyperspectral images using trilinear multivariate analysis methods. The new imaging system is an enabling technology for numerous applications including (1) 3D composition mapping analysis of multicomponent processes occurring during host-pathogen interactions, (2) monitoring microfluidic processes, (3) imaging of molecular motors and (4) understanding photosynthetic processes in wild type and mutant Synechocystis cyanobacteria.