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Assessment of Fluorescent Particles for Surface Flow Analysis

Flavia Tauro, Gabriele Mocio, Emiliano Rapiti, Salvatore Grimaldi, and Maurizio Porfiri

(Fluorescent Red Polyethylene: 250-300um)

(UV Fluorescent Polyethylene: 710-1180um)


In this paper, a systematic performance assessment of the measurement system for surface flow analysis developed by our group in (Tauro et al., Sensors, 2010) is presented. The system is based on the detection of buoyant fluorescent microspheres through a low-cost apparatus, which incorporates light sources to elicit fluorescence response and a digital camera to identify the particles' transit. Experiments are conducted using green fluorescent particles and further tests are executed to evaluate the system performance for red and orange particles varying in emission wavelength, degree of biocompatibility, and cost. The influence of the following parameters on surface flow sensing using fluorescent beads is investigated: (i) distance of the light sources from the water surface, (ii) presence of an ad-hoc filter tuned at the particle emission wavelength, (iii) camera resolution and frame rate, (iv) flow regime, and (v) ambient light. Experimental results are used to inform implementation guidelines for surface flow analysis in natural environments.