Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Clemson researchers advance nano-scale electromechanical sensors

Abstract:
Clemson physics professor Apparao Rao and his team are researching nano-scale cantilevers that have the potential to read and alert us to toxic chemicals or gases in the air. Put them into a small handheld device and the potential is there for real-time chemical alerts in battle, in industry, in health care and even at home.

"The ability to build extremely small devices to do this work has been something we've only seen so far in science-fiction movies," Rao said.

Clemson researchers advance nano-scale electromechanical sensors

Clemson, SC | Posted on November 11th, 2008

The width of a human hair or smaller, the micro- and nano-scale cantilevers look like tiny diving boards under an electron microscope. The researchers have advanced the method of oscillating cantilevers that vibrate much like a guitar string and measure amplitude and frequency under different conditions, creating highly reliable sensors that can relay a message that there's trouble in the air.

"The current way of sensing involves an optical method that uses a relatively bulky and expensive laser beam that doesn't translate well to use in nano-scale cantilevers. Our method is fully electrical and uses a small AC voltage to vibrate the cantilever and simple electronics to detect any changes in the vibration caused by gaseous chemical or biological agents," Rao said. "This method enables the development of handheld devices that would beep or flash as they read gas and chemical levels on site."

The potential applications are varied, he said. In addition to simultaneously reading multiple kinds of toxins in the environment, these electromechanical sensors have been shown to measure changes in humidity and temperature.

Preliminary results indicate that this fully electrical sensing scheme is so sensitive that it can differentiate between hydrogen and deuterium gas, very similar isotopes of the same element. Since the whole process is electrical, the size limitations that plague competing detection methods are not a problem here. The cantilevers can be shrunk down to the nano-scale and the operating electronics can be contained on a single tiny chip. Rao's research has shown that a single carbon nanotube can be used as a vibrating cantilever.

Rao credits Clemson Professor Emeritus of Physics Malcolm Skove, who discovered that measuring the resonant frequency of a cantilever at the second or higher harmonies would get rid of the so-called parasitic capacitance, an unwanted background that obscures the signal and has been a major stumbling block to the advancement of similar technology.

"When we operate at these higher harmonics of the resonant frequency, we get extremely clean signals. It makes a tremendous difference, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology is interested in promoting the Clemson method as one of the standard methods for measuring the stiffness of cantilevered beams," said Rao.

The research was funded for $500,000 over four years from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. To view published papers on the research go to:
people.clemson.edu/~arao/E-papers/HDR%20package.pdf.

####

About Clemson University
Today, Clemson is redefining the term “top-tier research university” by combining the best of two models: the scientific and technological horsepower of a major research university and the highly engaged academic and social environment of a small college. With a distinctive governance system that fosters stability in leadership, unique college structures that create an unmatched climate for collaboration, and a driven, competitive spirit that encourages faculty, staff and students to embrace bold, sometimes audacious, goals, Clemson has set its sights on being one of the nation’s top-20 public universities by 2011.

That vision — first outlined by President James F. Barker ’70 and officially adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2001 — has united members of the Clemson Family who understand what it takes to be a top research university and what Clemson’s success will mean for students, for South Carolina and for society.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Bevan Elliott
864-656-4447


Apparao Rao
864-656-6758


WRITER:
Susan Polowczuk
864-656-2063

Copyright © Clemson University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Arrowhead Receives Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1 Study of ARO-AAT for Treatment of Alpha-1 Liver Disease February 22nd, 2018

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Sensors

Graphene on toast, anyone? Rice University scientists create patterned graphene onto food, paper, cloth, cardboard February 13th, 2018

Leti Chief Scientist Barbara De Salvo Will Help Kick Off ISSCC 2018 with Opening-Day Keynote: In Addition, Leti Scientists Will Present and Demo New Technology for Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting February 8th, 2018

Engineers develop flexible, water-repellent graphene circuits for washable electronics January 24th, 2018

Leti to Demo New Curving Technology at Photonics West that Improves Performance of Optical Components January 18th, 2018

Discoveries

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Announcements

Arrowhead Receives Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1 Study of ARO-AAT for Treatment of Alpha-1 Liver Disease February 22nd, 2018

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Military

Graphene on toast, anyone? Rice University scientists create patterned graphene onto food, paper, cloth, cardboard February 13th, 2018

Silk fibers could be high-tech ‘natural metamaterials’ January 31st, 2018

Researchers use sound waves to advance optical communication January 22nd, 2018

New Method Uses DNA, Nanoparticles and Top-Down Lithography to Make Optically Active Structures: Technique could lead to new classes of materials that can bend light, such as for those used in cloaking devices January 18th, 2018

Home

A new product to help combat mouldy walls, thanks to technology developed at the ICN2 December 14th, 2017

Rice lab expands palette for color-changing glass: Nanophotonics team creates low-voltage, multicolor, electrochromic glass March 8th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Announces Plans to Spin Off New Product Line to Major Paint Compan November 9th, 2016

Industrial

Ultra-efficient removal of carbon monoxide using gold nanoparticles on a molecular support: New method and mechanism for state-of-the-art gas purification February 9th, 2018

A simple new approach to plastic solar cells: Osaka University researchers intelligently design new highly efficient organic solar cells based on amorphous electronic materials with potential for easy printing January 28th, 2018

Nature paper by Schlumberger researchers used photothermal based nanoscale IR spectroscopy to analyze heterogeneous process of petroleum generation January 23rd, 2018

New filters could enable manufacturers to perform highly-selective chemical separation January 23rd, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project