Synthetic Receptor-Based Biosensor for Safety and Security Applications
This project will develop a sensitive and specific biosensor worthy of field deployment for autonomous operations. The underlying technology will enable in situ detection of terror agents in the cargo space of an aircraft or in airports and thereby reduce vulnerability of the Air Transportation system. There is a critical need for sensitive, rugged biosensors capable of performing assays under harsh conditions with minimal crew attention for decreasing the time and cost of analyses. Toward that goal, tasks have been designed in this Phase I proposal to develop a biosensor using molecularly imprinted polymers - a class of synthetic receptors that can be tailored to selectively interact with analytes for which recognition molecules of biological origin may not be available. The feasibility of a sensor array will be demonstrated by using nerve agent simulants. A prototype sensor array device, and smart signal processing algorithm will be developed in Phase II. For Phase III manufacturing engineering and Phase III follow-on funding, discussions have been held with two potential partners. A highly proficient engineering team, with a cumulative 70 person-years of experience in materials science and optical sensors, is in place to develop the biosensor.
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