Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sniffer Dog on a Chip

15.09.2010
Highly sensitive TNT detection with nanowires

To thwart possible terrorist attacks and to detect contamination on sites of former military installations, researchers have been concentrating their efforts in recent years on methods for the detection and analysis of explosives.

Fernando Patolsky and his team at the University of Tel Aviv have now developed a novel sensor chip that detects trinitrotoluene (TNT), as well as other explosive species, with high sensitivity and without a concentration step. As the Israeli researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, their detector is superior to sniffer dogs and all other previous detection methods for this explosive.

The difficulty with the detection of explosives such as TNT is their extremely low volatility. Methods available for the analysis of air samples are expensive and time-consuming, and require large, bulky instruments, laborious sample preparation, and expert handling. “There is a need for an inexpensive, miniaturizable method that allows for quick, easy, and robust high-throughput analysis in the field,” says Patolsky.

The scientists built their sensor using the principle of a nanoscale field-effect transistor. In contrast to a current-controlled classical transistor, a field-effect transistor is switched by means of an electric field. At the core of the device are nanowires made of the semiconductor silicon. These were coated with a molecular layer made from special silicon compounds that contains amino groups (NH2). TNT molecules bind to these amino groups in the form of charge-transfer complexes. The binding process involves the transfer of electrons from the electron-rich amino groups to the electron-poor TNT. This change in the charge distribution on the surface of the nanowires modulates the electric field and leads to an abrupt change in the conductivity of the nanowires, which is easily measured.

To improve the signal-to-noise ratio and thus increase the sensitivity, the scientists equipped their chip with an array of about 200 individual sensors. “We are thus able to analyze liquid and gaseous samples without prior concentration or other sample preparation at previously unattainable sensitivities,” says Patolsky. “We were able to analyze concentrations down to 0.1 ppt (parts per trillion); that is, one molecule of TNT in 10 quadrillion other molecules.” The sensor can be quickly regenerated by washing and is selective for TNT; other related molecules do not react the same way.

“We are now creating a chip based on large arrays of nanosensors chemically modified with a large number of chemical receptors, with different binding capabilities, in order to detect a whole spectrum of explosive species in parallel,” says Patolsky.

Author: Fernando Patolsky, Tel Aviv University (Israel), http://www.tau.ac.il/chemistry/patolsky/

Title: Supersensitive Detection of Explosives by Silicon Nanowire Arrays

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2010, 49, No. 38, 6830–6835, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201000847

Fernando Patolsky | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www.tau.ac.il/chemistry/patolsky/
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201000847
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>