Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Food, water safety provide new challenges for today's sensors

Abstract:
Sensors that work flawlessly in laboratory settings may stumble when it comes to performing in real-world conditions, according to researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Food, water safety provide new challenges for today's sensors

Oak Ridge, TN | Posted on May 24th, 2012

These shortcomings are important as they relate to safeguarding the nation's food and water supplies, said Ali Passian, lead author of a Perspective paper published in ACS Nano. In their paper, titled "Critical Issues in Sensor Science to Aid Food and Water Safety," the researchers observe that while sensors are becoming increasingly sophisticated, little or no field testing has been reported.

"Although sensor researchers are keenly aware of the various issues challenging their particular technologies, outsiders may perceive an overestimated level of performance, or in certain cases, the availability of 'uber-sensors,'" the researchers wrote. Co-authors are Rubye Farahi and Laurene Tetard of ORNL and Thomas Thundat of the University of Alberta.

Salmonella, E-coli, pesticides and mercury are among key targets for sensors, so a clear public understanding of their capabilities - and limits - is essential, particularly because food and water make for highly complex chemical and biological environments, Passian said.

"Given the current physics of sensors, these hazards pose especially difficult challenges that will require further research and successful demonstration," Passian said.

The researchers explored paths necessary to ensure that sensors work as intended and can help protect the public - a goal they are confident can be achieved.

"While human and animal sensory capabilities are highly specific and can recognize the molecular fingerprints of many potentially harmful substances, developing similar and superior sensing capabilities is faced with many challenges for which nanoscience may provide new solutions," Passian said.

Nanosensors take on a variety of shapes, sizes and architecture. In some devices, nanoparticles (gold, silicon, magnetic composites or polymers) or nanowires (gold, polymers or composites) that react in the presence of the targeted substance are incorporated into the instrument.

Advantages of nano-sized particles in sensors include low cost, high surface-to-volume ratios, high sensitivity, unique optical and electrical properties and fast response, but these are intertwined with offsetting traits.

A number of issues are inherent in the design and operation of nanosensors. For example, the fact the nano-sized particles are so tiny can reduce the probability of interactions with the substance to be measured. Consequently, sensor developers are burdened with reaching a balance between reliability, cost effectiveness, portability, robustness and mass producibility.

Passian and the co-authors also stressed the need for a real-time flow of information to allow for quicker response time to assess risk, damage and notification of the affected populations. Ultimately, while many quality control measures are in place in the United States and other countries, requirements will continue to be refined.

"With the ever-growing global population and unpredictable natural phenomena such as earthquakes, early development of better sensor technology for food and water safety is vitally important," Passian said.

The Department of Homeland Security funded this research. Passian, Tetard and Farahi are members of ORNL's Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division. UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ron Walli
Communications and Media Relations
865.576.0226

Copyright © Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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 Links

The paper is available at:

Related News Press

News and information

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions June 28th, 2017

Nanometrics to Participate in the 9th Annual CEO Investor Summit 2017: Accredited investor and publishing research analyst event held concurrently with SEMICON West and Intersolar 2017 in San Francisco June 27th, 2017

NMRC, University of Nottingham chooses the Quorum Q150 coater for its reliable and reproducible film thickness when coating samples with iridium June 27th, 2017

Picosunís ALD solutions enable novel high-speed memories June 27th, 2017

Laboratories

Alloying materials of different structures offers new tool for controlling properties June 19th, 2017

Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies June 15th, 2017

X-ray Study Reveals Way to Control Molecular Vibrations that Transmit Heat: Findings open new pathway for "tuning" materials to ease or insulate against the flow of heat, sound, and other forms of energy June 7th, 2017

Scientists Design Molecular System for Artificial Photosynthesis: System is designed to mimic key functions of the photosynthetic center in green plants to convert solar energy into chemical energy stored by hydrogen fuel June 2nd, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Research accelerates quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics: UC Riverside-led research makes topological insulators magnetic well above room temperatures June 25th, 2017

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Sensors

Bosch announces high-performance MEMS acceleration sensors for wearables June 27th, 2017

Letiís Autonomous-Vehicle System Embedded in Infineonís AURIX Platform: Letiís Low-Power, Multi-Sensor System that Transforms Distance Data into Clear Information About the Driving Environment Will Be Demonstrated at ITS Meeting in Strasbourg, June 19-22 June 20th, 2017

New diode features optically controlled capacitance: Israeli researchers have developed a new optically tunable capacitor with embedded metal nanoparticles, creating a metal-insulator-semiconductor diode that is tunable by illumination. June 8th, 2017

Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible May 29th, 2017

Discoveries

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions June 28th, 2017

Physicists make quantum leap in understanding life's nanoscale machinery June 27th, 2017

Picosunís ALD solutions enable novel high-speed memories June 27th, 2017

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Announcements

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions June 28th, 2017

Nanometrics to Participate in the 9th Annual CEO Investor Summit 2017: Accredited investor and publishing research analyst event held concurrently with SEMICON West and Intersolar 2017 in San Francisco June 27th, 2017

NMRC, University of Nottingham chooses the Quorum Q150 coater for its reliable and reproducible film thickness when coating samples with iridium June 27th, 2017

Picosunís ALD solutions enable novel high-speed memories June 27th, 2017

Tools

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions June 28th, 2017

Nanometrics to Participate in the 9th Annual CEO Investor Summit 2017: Accredited investor and publishing research analyst event held concurrently with SEMICON West and Intersolar 2017 in San Francisco June 27th, 2017

NMRC, University of Nottingham chooses the Quorum Q150 coater for its reliable and reproducible film thickness when coating samples with iridium June 27th, 2017

New TriboLab CMP Provides Cost-Effective Characterization of Chemical Mechanical Wafer Polishing Processes: Bruker Updates Industry-Standard CP-4 Platform for Most Flexible and Reliable Testing June 27th, 2017

Homeland Security

Nanosensors on the alert for terrorist threats: Scientists interested in the prospects of gas sensors based on binary metal oxide nanocomposites November 5th, 2016

Nanobionic spinach plants can detect explosives: After sensing dangerous chemicals, the carbon-nanotube-enhanced plants send an alert November 2nd, 2016

Notre Dame researchers find transition point in semiconductor nanomaterials September 6th, 2016

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

New technology could offer cheaper, faster food testing: Specialized droplets interact with bacteria and can be analyzed using a smartphone April 7th, 2017

Meta-lenses bring benchtop performance to small, hand-held spectrometer: Game-changing nanostructure-based lenses allow smaller devices, increased functionality February 9th, 2017

PCATDES Starts Field Testing of Photocatalytic Reactors in South East Asia December 28th, 2016

News from Quorum: The Agricultural Research Service of the USDA uses a Quorum Cryo-SEM preparation system for the study of mites, ticks and other soft bodied organisms November 22nd, 2016

Water

Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water, Penn chemists report June 16th, 2017

Plasmonics could bring sustainable society, desalination tech June 2nd, 2017

Using light to propel water : With new method, MIT engineers can control and separate fluids on a surface using only visible light April 25th, 2017

Graphene holds up under high pressure: Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive April 24th, 2017

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project