US: University of Delaware researchers are developing sensors that they hope will allow real-time, in situ detection of water and air pollutants in an inexpensive and environmentally friendly manner.
Juejun Hu and Chaoying Ni of UD’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering are creating small, highly sensitive devices that will detect organic, inorganic and biological molecular species at low levels in the environment.
With further research and development, the devices could be integrated into portable, battery-powered sensor packages, replacing more traditional molecular detectors, which require bulky and expensive equipment.
Deployed in a network in the field, an array of the small sensors could detect contamination in air, water and soil in real time and relay that information wirelessly to a computer.
A major obstacle preventing small sensors from becoming practical replacements for bulky machines is that the new technology is still less sensitive and specific in its detection than the instruments currently in use. The project aims to create sensors that overcome these obstacles.
Source: UD Daily