Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Silkmoth inspires novel explosive detector

© Fabien Schnell/NS3E Overall view of a microcantilever nanostructured by aligned titanium dioxide nanotubes.
© Fabien Schnell/NS3E

Overall view of a microcantilever nanostructured by aligned titanium dioxide nanotubes.

Abstract:
Imitating the antennas of the silkmoth, Bombyx mori, to design a system for detecting explosives with unparalleled performance is the feat achieved by a team from the "Nanomatériaux pour Systèmes sous Sollicitations Extrêmes" unit (CNRS / Institut Franco-Allemand de Recherches de Saint-Louis), in collaboration with the Laboratoire des Matériaux, Surfaces et Procédés pour la Catalyse (CNRS / Université de Strasbourg). Made up of a silicon microcantilever bearing nearly 500,000 aligned titanium dioxide nanotubes, this device is capable of detecting concentrations of trinitrotoluene (TNT) of around 800 ppq (1) (i.e. 800 molecules of explosive per 10^15 molecules of air), thereby improving one thousand-fold the detection limit attainable until now. This innovative concept could also be used to detect drugs, toxic agents and traces of organic pollutants. This work is published on 29 May 2012 in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Silkmoth inspires novel explosive detector

Paris, France | Posted on June 2nd, 2012

The efficient detection of explosives such as trinitrotoluene (TNT) represents a difficult challenge in terms of security. Indeed, these compounds have very low volatility and it takes extremely sensitive sensors to detect them at a distance. Current systems detect concentrations of around 1 ppb (2) (one molecule per 10^9 molecules of air), but this level of performance can be insufficient to ensure airport security for example. Yet, numerous animals have a sense of smell that can go well below this limit including, for example, the silkmoth (Bombyx mori), capable of reacting to the capture of just a few pheromone molecules. Its antennas are composed of strands of around one millimeter in length, bearing a large of number of sensilla, micrometric sized organs directly connected to the sensory neurons. It is this structure that the researchers sought to imitate.

The system that they have developed comprises a 200-micron long and 30-micron wide silicon microcantilever. This support has been nanostructured with around 500,000 vertically aligned titanium dioxide nanotubes. The role of these nanostructures is to multiply the surface area of the microcantilever by a factor of around one hundred and to proportionally increase the chances of capturing the molecules being searched for. By making the microcantilever vibrate, it is possible to determine whether the ambient air contains traces of TNT and if these molecules have been captured by the device. In fact, the microcantilever has a particular resonance frequency that is modified in a specific manner when it absorbs molecules of explosive.

To test the performance of this device, the researchers released very small quantities of TNT in a controlled manner. In this way, there were able to establish that the sensitivity of the device was 800 ppq (800 molecules per million billion molecules (10^15)). No current device is able to detect such low concentrations of explosives. These performance levels are similar to those of trained sniffer dogs.

Research and development work is still necessary before an easy-to-use device based on these nanostructured levers can be obtained. One of the next steps is to design a device capable of specifically recognizing the type of explosive absorbed. The scientists already hope to adapt these microcantilevers to the detection of other explosives, such as pentrite, which could pose security problems in Europe. Furthermore, this method could also be used to detect various drugs which, like explosives, have very low volatility. In environmental terms, this bio-inspired device could make it possible to measure infinitesimal traces of pollutants such as volatile organic compounds, which have become a major health issue.

1) Ppq (parts per quadrillion) is used to measure the abundance of an element.
2) Ppb (parts per billion) represents a concentration of around 10^-9.

Full bibliographic informationBio-Inspired Nanostructured Sensor for the Detection of Ultralow Concentrations of Explosives. D. Spitzer, T. Cottineau, N. Piazzon, S. Josset, F. Schnell, S. N. Pronkin, E. R. Savinova, and V. Keller. Angewandte Chemie. 29 mai 2012.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Researchers
Denis Spitzer
T +33 (0)3 89 69 50 75


Valérie Keller
T +33 (0)3 68 85 27 36


CNRS press officer
Priscilla Dacher
T +33 (0)1 44 96 46 06 l

Julien Guillaume
+ 33 1 44 96 51 51

Copyright © AlphaGalileo

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

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices: The researchers from the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University have grown organic crystals that allow creating flexible electronic devices February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Discoveries

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Joint Efforts by Iranian, Malaysian Scientists Produce Antibacterial Coatings for Isolated Areas February 4th, 2016

Announcements

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices: The researchers from the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University have grown organic crystals that allow creating flexible electronic devices February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Homeland Security

Detecting and identifying explosives with single test December 10th, 2015

Columbia engineers build biologically powered chip: System combines biological ion channels with solid-state transistors to create a new kind of electronics December 7th, 2015

Nanoparticle delivery maximizes drug defense against bioterrorism agent: UCLA team develops method for improving drug’s efficacy while reducing side effects November 6th, 2015

Toward clearer, cheaper imaging of ultrafast phenomena: A new, all-optical method for compressing narrow electron pulses to a billionth of a billionth of a second could improve real-time movies of chemical reactions and other ultrafast processes October 14th, 2015

Military

Scientists guide gold nanoparticles to form 'diamond' superlattices: DNA scaffolds cage and coax nanoparticles into position to form crystalline arrangements that mimic the atomic structure of diamond February 4th, 2016

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer: Hybrid polymers could lead to new concepts in self-repairing materials, drug delivery and artificial muscles January 30th, 2016

Nano-coating makes coaxial cables lighter: Rice University scientists replace metal with carbon nanotubes for aerospace use January 28th, 2016

Scientists build a neural network using plastic memristors: A group of Russian and Italian scientists have created a neural network based on polymeric memristors -- devices that can potentially be used to build fundamentally new computers January 28th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic