Optical Device for In-Line and Real-Time Monitoring of Microalgae

Case ID:

This invention is an optical-based sensor system which uses wavelengths and laser technology to monitor microalgae in real-time. The emitted wavelengths range from 650nm to 850nm for the purpose of determining biomass concentration. The device is able to measure the following: cell concentration, size, reflectivity of particles, intensity of color, and turbidity of the solution.

Current methods of measuring biological variables such as cell mass concentration, cell size, cell morphology, population composition, pigments, and liquid content are currently either prohibitively expensive, too laborious, or destructive to be employed for real-time monitoring and control. Existing sensors for each individual application are mostly designed for environmental concentrations and as such are not suited for microalgae growth. This invention attempts to facilitate the process of measurement by introducing an enclosed all-in-one solution using various optical emitters to harmonize the measurement process for real-time, microalgae growth.


  • Chemical, biological, and optical sensor markets
  • Aquaculture - optimizing resource inputs when producing biomass is key regarding the quality, quantity and cost of production


  • Harmonized sensor suite for variety of applications
  • Ability to carry out real-time measurement of high concentration solutions
  • Does not require sample dilution
  • Does not destroy the sample when measuring
  • Non-prohibitive pricing

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,261,474

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tod McCauley
Assistant Director of Licensing, CALS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Murat Kacira
Fei Jia
Kimberly Ogden
Gregory Ogden