Methods for the Detection and Monitoring of Microplastics in the Environment by Dr. Steven M. Barnett, Ph.D. CEO, Soar Optics



Methods for the Detection and Monitoring of Microplastics in the Environment

Steven M. Barnett, Ph.D.

CEO, Soar Optics

Wednesday, January 18, Webinar at 6:30 PM Pacific time


Microplastics have recently been recognized as a significant environmental contaminant with implications for human health and carbon capture. It is widely recognized that we need to control and decrease the level of microplastics in our society. The California State Water Control Resources Board mandates that agencies that deliver water to the majority of California residents need to monitor for microplastics. However, the reduction of microplastic levels is challenging since detection and monitoring of these contaminants is difficult.

This presentation will provide a review of microplastics and the range of methods being used for monitoring, including the FTIR and Raman methods recommended by the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Finally, a discussion on Soar Optics’ advanced methods to improve the speed and efficiency of microplastics detection and monitoring will be discussed. Our methods incorporate Raman scattering using dedicated sensors for the major microplastics found in the environment, allowing for rapid scanning and comprehensive analysis of most typical samples.

Speaker Background & Research Interests:

Dr. Barnett is the CEO of Soar Optics, a company founded in 2022 to develop advanced optical sensors for materials characterization.

Technical Background

Dr. Barnett has 25 years of experience in the methods being developed by Soar Optics. He is the author of the patent-pending technology that Soar Optics is developing, and is a co-author on 22 published papers in refereed journals.

Dr. Barnett received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from McGill University and subsequently worked as a Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. Since 1997, Dr. Barnett has worked with many industries in the application of optical methods for materials characterization. His roles have included sales, applications development, support, and management. He has also been active in a range of scientific societies including the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS) as a member of the Executive Committee and the Governing Board, in addition to serving as President of the Northern California local section for many years. He is a member of the American Society for Trace Evidence Examiners (ASTEE), SPIE, and the Materials Research Society.

Business Background

Dr. Barnett holds an MBA degree from the Graduate School of Management of the University of California, Davis, with an emphasis on technology management, organizational behavior, and entrepreneurship.

In addition to his work at Soar, Dr. Barnett is the Principal of Barnett Technical Services, a company that sells instrumentation for chemical and materials analysis since 2010. He is also a Founder of InnoGrove, a coworking space in Elk Grove, CA that supports the Elk Grove entrepreneurial community.

DATE: Wednesday, January 18

Registration deadline: Tuesday, January 17, 1:00 PM.

Registration may close earlier than the nominal deadline if capacity is reached.

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Webinar Timing: 6:30 PM.

(Zoom meeting room will open earlier)

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