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Thousand-color sensor reveals contaminants in Earth and sea
Date:11/2/2011

rom the ground itself to unmanned aircraft, satellites or weather balloons. The camera can also be pointed towards the stars to help astronomers gain insight into the make-up of a planet's atmosphere.

Most recently, Prof. Ben-Dor has used the technology to survey different environments, including soil and sea, seeking to identify problem areas. The area around gas pipelines is one site of environmental contamination, he says. Leaks can be particularly damaging to the surrounding earth, so the sensors can be used to test along a pipeline for water content, organic matter, and toxins alike. In agricultural areas, the sensor can be used to determine levels of salt in the soil to save crops before they are destroyed.

The technique is also effective in marinas, which are highly contaminated by gasoline and sealants from the undersides of sea vessels. "This toxic material sinks, and becomes concentrated on the sediment of the marina, which also contaminates nearby beaches," Prof. Ben-Dor explains.

The color of possibility

Before the HSR technology was developed, samples of potentially contaminated or endangered soil, sediment or water would have to be taken to the lab for lengthy analysis. With the use of a hyperspectral sensor, real-time analysis allows immediate action to better environmental conditions. The sensor can also be used to determine levels of indoor pollution caused by dust, analyze the strength of concrete being used for buildings in earthquake zones, or scan the environment around an open mine to look at the impact on human health.

According to Prof. Ben-Dor, this technology's potential is endless and can be used in disciplines such as medicine, pharmacology, textile industry, and civil engineering. Without so much as a touch, the sensor can provide in-depth analysis on environmental composition. It's a method that can map and monitor the earth from "microscope to telescope," he says.


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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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