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December 8th, 2003
Future sensors may take the form of microscopic finger-like structures developed at Ohio State University.
Engineers here have found an easy way to carve the surface of inexpensive ceramic material into tiny filaments, creating a platform for devices that detect chemicals in the air. They could also be used to clean up toxic chemicals or gather solar energy, or to form fog-free or self-cleaning surfaces. Each filament, or nanofinger, consists of a single crystal of the compound titanium oxide, and measures up to five micrometers long and at most 50 nanometers wide. A micrometer is one millionth of a meter, and a nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
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