Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Student Innovation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Could Enable Better, Cheaper Detection of Hazardous Gases

07.03.2012
Fazel Yavari Is One of Three Finalists for the $30,000 2012 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize
Fazel Yavari has developed a new sensor to detect extremely small quantities of hazardous gases. Made from a 3-D foam of the world’s thinnest material,

graphene, this sensor is durable, inexpensive to make, and opens the door to a new generation of gas detectors for use by bomb squads, defense and law enforcement officials, as well as applications in industrial settings.

Yavari, a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is one of three finalists for the 2012 $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize. A public ceremony announcing this year’s winner will be held at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, in the auditorium of the Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. For more information on the ceremony visit: http://www.eng.rpi.edu/lemelson

Yavari’s project is titled “High Sensitivity Detection of Hazardous Gases Using a Graphene Foam Network,” and his faculty adviser is Nikhil Koratkar, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer.

Detecting trace amounts of hazardous gases present within air is a critical safety and health consideration in many different situations, from industrial manufacturing and chemical processing to bomb detection and environmental monitoring. Conventional gas sensors are either too bulky and expensive, which limits their use in many applications, or they are not sensitive enough to detect trace amounts of gases. Also, many commercial sensors require very high temperatures in order to adequately detect gases, and in turn require large amounts of power.

Researchers have long sought to leverage the power of nanomaterials for gas detection. Individual nanostructures like graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged like a nanoscale chicken-wire fence, are extremely sensitive to chemical changes. However, creating a device based on a single nanostructure is costly, highly complex, and the resulting devices are extremely fragile, prone to failure, and offer inconsistent readings.

Yavari has overcome these hurdles and created a device that combines the high sensitivity of a nanostructured material with the durability, low price, and ease of use of a macroscopic device. His new graphene foam sensor, about the size of a postage stamp and as thick as felt, works at room temperature, is considerably less expensive to make, and still very sensitive to tiny amounts of gases. The sensor works by reading the changes in the graphene foam’s electrical conductivity as it encounters gas particles and they stick to the foam’s surface. Another benefit of the Yavari’s device is its ability to quickly and easily remove these stuck chemicals by applying a small electric current.

The new graphene foam sensor has been engineered to detect the gases ammonia and nitrogen dioxide, but can be configured to work with other gases as well. Ammonia detection is important as the gas is commonly used in industrial processes, and ammonia is a byproduct of several explosives. Nitrogen dioxide is also a byproduct of several explosives, as well as a closely monitored pollutant found in combustion exhaust and auto emissions. Yavari’s sensor can detect both gases in quantities as small as 0.5 parts-per-million at room temperature.

When he’s not studying or working in the lab, Yavari likes to keep active by playing tennis, cycling, or skiing. He also enjoys making time to travel around the United States and overseas. At home in Isfahan, Iran, Yavari’s parents are both high school teachers. They encouraged him as a child to study math and science, and today they are very proud of his accomplishments and cheering for him to win the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize.

Yavari received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Shahrekord University in Iran, and his master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Tehran.

After earning his doctoral degree later this year, Yavari plans to continue conducting research either in academia or the private sector.

About the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize

The $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize is funded through a partnership with the Lemelson-MIT Program, which has awarded the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize to outstanding student inventors at MIT since 1995.

ABOUT THE LEMELSON-MIT PROGRAM
Celebrating innovation, inspiring youth
The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding innovators and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.

Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife, Dorothy, founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering. The Foundation sparks, sustains, and celebrates innovation and the inventive spirit. It supports projects in the U.S. and developing countries that nurture innovators and unleash invention to advance economic, social, and environmentally sustainable development. To date The Lemelson Foundation has donated or committed more than U.S. $150 million in support of its mission. http://web.mit.edu/invent/

For more information on the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize, visit:

• Student Innovator Uses Sound Waves, T-Rays for Safer Detection of Bombs and Other Dangerous Materials

Benjamin Clough’s invention increases distance between first responders and potential threats http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2840

• Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage
Javad Rafiee’s graphene innovation could lead to more efficient hydrogen-powered vehicles

http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2690

• Student Developer of Versatile “G-gels” Wins $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Prize
Yuehua “Tony” Yu’s innovation could lead to new medical devices, drug-delivery technologies

http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2538

• Student Develops New LED, Wins $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Prize
Martin Schubert’s polarized LED could improve LCD displays, save energy
http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2406
• Handheld “T-Ray” Device Earns New $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize
Brian Schulkin’s “Mini-Z” spots cracks in space shuttle foam, detects tumors in tissue

http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=1944

Contact
Michael Mullaney
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY
518-276-6161
mullam@rpi.edu
Visit the Rensselaer research and discovery blog: http://approach.rpi.edu
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RPInews

Michael Mullaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Beyond conventional solution-process for 2-D heterostructure
22.06.2018 | Science China Press

nachricht Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film
22.06.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>