Raman tweezers for tire and road wear micro- and nanoparticles analysis published in Environmental Science: Nano

Raman Tweezers are used to detect tires and road wear particles in water. We analyze samples collected from a brake test platform, highlighting the presence of car tires and brake particles debris with sub-micrometric dimensions. (Featuring work from Dr Pietro G. Gucciardi, Prof Giovanni Volpe, and Dr Fabienne Lagarde).
Raman tweezers for tire and road wear micro- and nanoparticles analysis

R. GillibertA. MagazzùA. CallegariD. Bronte-CirizaA. FotiM. G. DonatoO. M. MaragòG. VolpeM. L. de La ChapelleF. Lagarde and P. G. Gucciardi.

Environmental Science: Nano (2022) doi: 10.1039/D1EN00553G


Tire and road wear particles (TRWP) are non-exhaust particulate matter generated by road transport means during the mechanical abrasion of tires, brakes and roads. TRWP accumulate on the roadsides and are transported into the aquatic ecosystem during stormwater runoffs. Due to their size (sub-millimetric) and rubber content (elastomers), TRWP are considered microplastics (MPs). While the amount of the MPs polluting the water ecosystem with sizes from ∼5 μm to more than 100 μm is known, the fraction of smaller particles is unknown due to the technological gap in the detection and analysis of <5 μm MPs. Here we show that Raman tweezers, a combination of optical tweezers and Raman spectroscopy, can be used to trap and chemically analyze individual TRWPs in a liquid environment, down to the sub-micrometric scale. Using tire particles mechanically grinded from aged car tires in water solutions, we show that it is possible to optically trap individual sub-micron particles, in a so-called 2D trapping configuration, and acquire their Raman spectrum in few tens of seconds. The analysis is then extended to samples collected from a brake test platform, where we highlight the presence of sub-micrometric agglomerates of rubber and brake debris, thanks to the presence of additional spectral features other than carbon. Our results show the potential of Raman tweezers in environmental pollution analysis and highlight the formation of nanosized TRWP during wear.

Presentation by D. Bronte Ciriza at the 19th Electromagnetic and Light Scattering Conference

Comparison between the Geometrical Optics (GO) method and the Neural Network (NN) for the optical forces and torques calculation. The NN improvement in speed and accuracy could help to study the motion of active particles in optical landscapes. Image by D. Bronte Ciriza.
Machine learning to enhance the calculation of optical forces in the geometrical optics approximation
David Bronte Ciriza, Alessandro Magazzù, Agnese Callegari, Maria A. Iatì, Giovanni Volpe, Onofrio M. Maragò
Submitted to: ELS-XIX (2021)
Date: 14 July
Time: 12:50 CEST

Short Abstract:
We show how machine learning can improve the speed and accuracy of the optical force calculations in the geometrical optics approximation

Extended Abstract:
Since the pioneering work by Ashkin in the 1970’s, optical forces have played a fundamental role in fields like biology, nanotechnology, or atomic physics. In all these fields, numerical simulations are of great help for validating theories, for the planning of experiments, and in the interpretation of the results. However, the calculation of the forces is computationally expensive and prohibitively slow for numerical simulations when the forces need to be calculated many times in a sequential way.

Recently, machine learning has been demonstrated to be a promising approach to improve the speed of these calculations and therefore, to expand the applicability of numerical simulations for experimental design and analysis. In this work we show that machine learning can be used to improve not only the speed but also the accuracy of the force calculation in the geometrical optics regime, valid when the particles are significantly bigger than the wavelength of the incident light. This is first demonstrated for the case of a spherical particle with 3 degrees of freedom and later expanded to 9 degrees of freedom by including all the relevant parameters involved in the optical forces calculation. Machine learning is proved as a compact, accurate, and fast approach for optical forces calculation and presents a tool that can be used to study systems that, due to computation limitations, were out of the scope of the traditional ray optics approach.

Improving epidemic testing and containment strategies using machine learning on ArXiv

Comparison of different evolution regimes of disease spreading: free evolution (bottom left half) vs network strategy (top right half). Image by L. Natali.
Improving epidemic testing and containment strategies using machine learning
Laura Natali, Saga Helgadottir, Onofrio M. Maragò, Giovanni Volpe
arXiv: 2011.11717

Containment of epidemic outbreaks entails great societal and economic costs. Cost-effective containment strategies rely on efficiently identifying infected individuals, making the best possible use of the available testing resources. Therefore, quickly identifying the optimal testing strategy is of critical importance. Here, we demonstrate that machine learning can be used to identify which individuals are most beneficial to test, automatically and dynamically adapting the testing strategy to the characteristics of the disease outbreak. Specifically, we simulate an outbreak using the archetypal susceptible-infectious-recovered (SIR) model and we use data about the first confirmed cases to train a neural network that learns to make predictions about the rest of the population. Using these prediction, we manage to contain the outbreak more effectively and more quickly than with standard approaches. Furthermore, we demonstrate how this method can be used also when there is a possibility of reinfection (SIRS model) to efficiently eradicate an endemic disease.