Navigation Links
Nanotech device mimics dog's nose to detect explosives
Date:11/20/2012

(Santa Barbara, CA ) Portable, accurate, and highly sensitive devices that sniff out vapors from explosives and other substances could become as commonplace as smoke detectors in public places, thanks to researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Researchers at UCSB, led by professors Carl Meinhart of mechanical engineering and Martin Moskovits of chemistry, have designed a detector that uses microfluidic nanotechnology to mimic the biological mechanism behind canine scent receptors. The device is both highly sensitive to trace amounts of certain vapor molecules, and able to tell a specific substance apart from similar molecules.

"Dogs are still the gold standard for scent detection of explosives. But like a person, a dog can have a good day or a bad day, get tired or distracted," said Meinhart. "We have developed a device with the same or better sensitivity as a dog's nose that feeds into a computer to report exactly what kind of molecule it's detecting." The key to their technology, explained Meinhart, is in the merging of principles from mechanical engineering and chemistry in a collaboration made possible by UCSB's Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies.

Results published this month in Analytical Chemistry show that their device can detect airborne molecules of a chemical called 2,4-dinitrotoluene, the primary vapor emanating from TNT-based explosives. The human nose cannot detect such minute amounts of a substance, but "sniffer" dogs have long been used to track these types of molecules. Their technology is inspired by the biological design and microscale size of the canine olfactory mucus layer, which absorbs and then concentrates airborne molecules.

"The device is capable of real-time detection and identification of certain types of molecules at concentrations of 1 ppb or below. Its specificity and sensitivity are unparalleled," said Dr. Brian Piorek, former mechanical engineering doctoral student in Meinhart's laboratory and Chief Scientist at Santa Barbara-based SpectraFluidics, Inc. The technology has been patented and exclusively licensed to SpectraFluidics, a company that Piorek co-founded in 2008 with private investors.

"Our research project not only brings different disciplines together to develop something new, but it also creates jobs for the local community and hopefully benefits society in general," commented Meinhart.

Packaged on a fingerprint-sized silicon microchip and fabricated at UCSB's state-of-the-art cleanroom facility, the underlying technology combines free-surface microfluidics and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to capture and identify molecules. A microscale channel of liquid absorbs and concentrates the molecules by up to six orders of magnitude. Once the vapor molecules are absorbed into the microchannel, they interact with nanoparticles that amplify their spectral signature when excited by laser light. A computer database of spectral signatures identifies what kind of molecule has been captured.

"The device consists of two parts," explained Moskovits. "There's a microchannel, which is like a tiny river that we use to trap the molecules and present them to the other part, a mini spectrometer powered by a laser that detects them. These microchannels are twenty times smaller than the thickness of a human hair."

"The technology could be used to detect a very wide variety of molecules," said Meinhart. "The applications could extend to certain disease diagnosis or narcotics detection, to name a few."

Moskovits added, "The paper we published focused on explosives, but it doesn't have to be explosives. It could detect molecules from someone's breath that may indicate disease, for example, or food that has spoiled."

The fundamental research was developed through an interdisciplinary collaboration between Professors Meinhart and Moskovits, and carried out by former doctoral researchers Dr. Piorek and Dr. Seung-Joon Lee. Their project was funded in part by UCSB's Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies through the Army Research Office and DARPA.


'/>"/>
Contact: Melissa Van De Werfhorst
melissa@engineering.ucsb.edu
805-893-4301
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. European boost for DNA nanotechnology
2. Mercury in water, fish detected with nanotechnology
3. Realizing the promise of RNA nanotechnology for new drug development
4. New study shows promise in using RNA nanotechnology to treat cancers and viral infections
5. Understanding the biological and ecological implications of safe nanotechnology
6. Nanotechnology breakthrough could dramatically improve medical tests
7. New study shows how nanotechnology can help detect disease earlier
8. Purdue professor to speak before Congress about nanotechnology in brain treatment research
9. Simplifying heart surgery with stretchable electronics devices
10. Stryker Chooses Wineman Technology for Medical Device Test Equipment and Software
11. Medical devices powered by the ear itself
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Nanotech device mimics dog's nose to detect explosives
(Date:4/19/2017)... ALBANY, New York , April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... highly competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by ... in the market is however held by five major ... and Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% ... majority of the leading companies in the global military ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 According to a ... Identity Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment ... the IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in ... Rate (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, ... security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. ... to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate ... ... NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... Borlaug CAST Communication Award goes to Jayson Lusk, a consummate communicator who promotes ... media to advocate for science, as he explains how innovation and growth in ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... Myrtle Beach, SC (PRWEB) , ... April 26, ... ... for the mind, has teamed up with NASA to showcase the future of ... NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft and includes a guest ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... and North America this May on the following dates: , ... H. Taylor, Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute will be the ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Franz ... Lisp (CL) development tools, and market leader for Semantic Graph Database ... now available within the most effective system for developing and deploying applications to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: