Nanotechnology-Enhanced Sensor for Toxic Industrial Chemicals
Agency / Branch:
DOD / DARPA
Traditionally, concern over warfighter exposure to chemicals has centered on chemical warfare agents (CWAs), due to their acute toxicity and weaponized status. Recently, however, additional concern has arisen regarding toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), which are industrial chemicals that have the potential to cause adverse health effects in people through deliberate or accidental exposure. While they are not as lethal as conventional CWAs, TICs pose a threat to warfighters and civilian populations, simply due to their increased abundance and availability compared to CWAs. We propose to develop reagent-free sensing materials incorporating nanoscale features which will enhance the detection, identification and quantification of various TICs. Interaction between analyte molecules and the nanocomposite sensing material will result in a significant change in measurable properties of the material that can be easily monitored by standard techniques. In Phase I, we will fabricate nanoscale sensing materials, demonstrate their TICs detection capability and illustrate their improved performance brought about by the nanoscale components. The sensing materials will eventually be incorporated into a sensor array (Phase II) which enable the identification and quantification of the TICs.
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