Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Gas, gas, quick boys

Abstract:
TERRORISM is most commonly associated with the bomb and the bullet, but ever since an incident on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, the security services have also had to worry about poison gas.

That attack, which used a nerve-gas called sarin, killed 12 people and severely injured another 50. Sarin is to be feared because it is invisible, odourless and 500 times more deadly than cyanide. However, other gases (not least cyanide itself) could be used instead. What is needed is a cheap way of detecting such gases and, having raised the alarm, of identifying which gas is involved so that anyone who has succumbed can be treated.

And that is what a team of chemical engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by Michael Strano (pictured on the left), think they have created. Not only can their new sensor tell between chemical agents, it can detect them at previously unattainable concentrations—as low as 25 parts in a trillion.

The core of Dr Strano's invention, which he describes in Angewandte Chemie, is an array of treated carbon nanotubes. Each is, in essence, a layer of carbon atoms that has been coated with nitrogen-containing molecules called amines and rolled into a cylinder with the amines on the outside. Individual tubes, which are about 1/50,000 of the width of a human hair in diameter, are arranged so that they run between pairs of tiny electrodes. When the device is switched on the nanotubes carry an electric current with a power of about 300 microwatts.

The gases to be analysed reach the nanotubes through a miniature column etched onto a silicon chip. As they pass along this column they tend to stick to its sides. Some gases stick more than others, and hence travel more slowly down the column. In this way the components of the sample separate from one another. Each component is puffed onto the nanotubes, where it sticks to the carbon atoms. This, in turn, causes the conductivity of the nanotubes to change—how much is a characteristic of each gas.


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

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Sensors

Innovative sensing platform unlocks ultrahigh sensitivity in conventional sensors: Lan Yang and her team have developed new plug-and-play hardware to dramatically enhance the sensitivity of optical sensors April 5th, 2024

$900,000 awarded to optimize graphene energy harvesting devices: The WoodNext Foundation's commitment to U of A physicist Paul Thibado will be used to develop sensor systems compatible with six different power sources January 12th, 2024

A color-based sensor to emulate skin's sensitivity: In a step toward more autonomous soft robots and wearable technologies, EPFL researchers have created a device that uses color to simultaneously sense multiple mechanical and temperature stimuli December 8th, 2023

New tools will help study quantum chemistry aboard the International Space Station: Rochester Professor Nicholas Bigelow helped develop experiments conducted at NASA’s Cold Atom Lab to probe the fundamental nature of the world around us November 17th, 2023

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Homeland Security

The picture of health: Virginia Tech researchers enhance bioimaging and sensing with quantum photonics June 30th, 2023

Sensors developed at URI can identify threats at the molecular level: More sensitive than a dog's nose and the sensors don't get tired May 21st, 2021

UCF researchers generate attosecond light from industrial laser: The ultrafast measurement of the motion of electrons inside atoms, molecules and solids at their natural time scale is known as attosecond science and could have important implications in power generation, chemical- August 25th, 2020

Highly sensitive dopamine detector uses 2D materials August 7th, 2020

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