Student interview: “We need to chase high water quality”

Xiaoxue Zhang tries to keep the sensors free from bacteria in the fish farming system. Photo: Per Henning, NTNU

Written by Reidun Lilleholt Kraugerud for the annual report 2016 of CtrlAQUA.

Xiaoxue Zhang is a PhD student at NTNU Nanolab, working on the development of a material to apply to sensors in the water treatment systems.

Before her arrival at CtrlAQUA, closed-containment aquaculture was totally new to Zhang but, once she had started, she soon developed an enthusiasm for the work.

“At first, this was just a job that suited my competence. But, once I was involved, I saw how passionate the others at the center were about their work and it was contagious. I am now very enthusiastic about developing this material to improve the sensors,” she says.

Zhang is approaching an invisible but crucial detail in today’s closed-containment systems: the quality of the sensors:

“My thesis is about developing a material that can prevent the growth of biofilm on the sensors that measure water quality in the systems. If the sensors become coated with microbes, they are unable to make accurate measurements. And accurate measurements are essential in intense systems such as closed-containment systems, where we need to chase high water quality.”

Zhang has already developed a prototype of the material and is now applying it to the sensors. Finally, she will study whether the material works effectively on the sensors in practice.

The main research contributions of NTNU to CtrlAQUA will be within sensor technology and sensor implementation.

University: NTNU

Student status: PhD 2016-2020

Supervisor: Øyvind Mikkelsen

CtrlAQUA project: SENSOR