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

Summary:

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.