Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sniffing Out Chemical, Biological Threats

14.10.2009
Research to develop a new method to detect biological and chemical threats may also lead to new approaches for removing pollutants from the environment.

The research effort, led by Dr. Hai Xiao of Missouri University of Science and Technology, involves the development of tiny sensors – each about the size of a pinhead – that could be used to detect and identify chemical or biological agents.

Xiao, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, along with colleagues from Missouri S&T and the University of Cincinnati are using a porous crystal known as zeolite to develop the sensors.

Zeolite’s molecular structure and unusual properties allow it to detect certain chemicals and trap them, Xiao says.

Funded through a $529,160 grant from the U.S. Army’s Leonard Wood Institute, the researchers are developing prototypes of the sensors, a process for manufacturing them and a means for deploying them in a battlefield or urban warfare situation.

The zeolite sensors would be deployed in the battlefield via “motes” developed by Xiao’s co-investigator, Dr. Jagannathan Sarangapani, the William A. Rutledge-Emerson Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering. These are small, battery-powered devices that would hold perhaps a dozen or so sensors and have the ability to communicate with one another via a wireless network. The motes could also be controlled remotely, allowing soldiers to maintain a safe distance from deadly chemicals.

While the sensors are designed to aid the military, Xiao thinks they may also have environmental benefits. In more concentrated quantities, the absorbent properties of zeolite may make it ideal for cleaning up environmental messes, such as a chemical spill.

“It’s more like a sieve and has been used for molecular separations,” he says. “But because of its large surface area, zeolite also acts as an absorbent for efficient collection of target samples from the environment.”

Xiao’s expertise is in developing sensors for military, energy, industry and biomedical applications, while Dr. H.L. Tsai, a professor of mechanical engineering at Missouri S&T, is an expert in the area of laser fabrication. Working with Tsai is Dr. Junhang Dong, an associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Cincinnati who is an expert in zeolite materials design and synthesis.

Working with Xiao and Sarangapani is Dr. Sanjeev Agarwal, a research assistant professor of electrical engineering. Agarwal and Sarangapani are developing the distribution system for the sensors.

Andrew Careaga | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.mst.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>