Microfluidic Paper-based Analytical Devices for Rapid On-site Optical Chemical Analysis in the Oil Field

S. Chang, H. Ow, B. Yoon, W. Wang
Aramco Research Center, Aramco Services Company,
United States

Keywords: paper diagnostics, optical sensor, fluorescence detection, microfluidics


Timely detection and quantification of oil field chemicals in reservoir fluid is utmost to efficient reservoir management. However, the reservoir fluid analysis require labor-intensive separation/extraction processes to remove interferents, and sophisticated laboratory instruments that must be operated by trained specialists. These monitor and surveillance operations are therefore difficult to implement in remote regions. Paper-based analysis and detection platforms requiring simple, portable hardware have the potential to provide near real-time analysis at the well-site. However, for the trace level optical detection, the background fluorescence from either fluorescent optical brightener or indigenous lignin in the paper/cellulose fibers, significantly limits the sensitivity. The study details a low-cost portable various paper-based diagnostic devices that enable rapid on-site chemical analysis of reservoir fluids. In addition, it specifies the challenge of using paper-based devices for trace level fluorescent chemical analysis and how this is effectively addressed with paper-based substrates. The study will also discuss specific functionalization chemistries on the paper substrates to enhance sensitivity of the diagnostic devices and outline fluorimetric and/or colorimetric read-out and quantification methods using a time-resolved fluorescence camera.