Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemical "Nose" Could Sniff Out Landmines

Date:
November 17, 1998
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Newly designed polymers may soon rival dogs as the most advanced landmine detection device. Mimicking dogs' acute biochemical mechanisms of smell, the polymers are engineered to notice trace vapors of TNT and its derivatives, which are commonly used in landmines.

Newly designed polymers may soon rival dogs as the most advanced landmine detection device. Mimicking dogs' acute biochemical mechanisms of smell, the polymers are engineered to notice trace vapors of TNT and its derivatives, which are commonly used in landmines.

Related Articles


The latest generation of these polymers is described in the November 10 Web edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, published by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. It is scheduled to appear in the print version of the peer-reviewed journal on November 25.

Currently man's best friend is also the best tool for finding the estimated 120 million unexploded landmines hidden around the world. The chemicals that may relieve dogs of this dangerous duty are being developed by a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge.

"We've come up with a very specific, sophisticated polymeric material," says team leader Timothy M. Swager, Ph.D.

The new sensors are fluorescent polymers, activated by light to have high energy electrons. The polymers look like 3-dimensional X's, attached through their center to parallel rows of chemical backbones. This structure keeps individual sensor polymers separated. When TNT floats in between the spaces it momentarily steals an electron, decreasing the fluorescence and sending a signal to the detector's "brain."

The system is expected to be very sensitive because "one TNT molecule can deactivate many of these electrons," according to Swager.

Swager says this chemistry could enable development of a simple, low cost, rugged and portable instrument to complement existing technologies for finding unexploded land mines. Current methods have drawbacks ranging from frequent false alarms to fragility to complex operation. A device based on Swager's polymers is currently being tested.

The invention might have other applications as well. For example, Swager envisions a system that would replace security spot checks: "Everyone walks through a little air shower and it would look at you" for substances ranging from drugs to explosives.

###

A nonprofit organization with a membership of more than 155,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Chemical "Nose" Could Sniff Out Landmines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981117081118.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (1998, November 17). Chemical "Nose" Could Sniff Out Landmines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981117081118.htm
American Chemical Society. "Chemical "Nose" Could Sniff Out Landmines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981117081118.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solar Plane Passes New Test Ahead of World Tour

Solar Plane Passes New Test Ahead of World Tour

AFP (Mar. 2, 2015) A solar-powered plane made a third successful test flight in the United Arab Emirates on Monday ahead of a planned round-the-world tour to promote alternative energy. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electric Hydrofoiling Watercraft Delivers Eco-Friendly Thrills

Electric Hydrofoiling Watercraft Delivers Eco-Friendly Thrills

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) The Quadrofoil is a high-tech electric personal watercraft that its makers call a &apos;sports car for the water&apos;. When it hits 10 km/h, the Slovenian-engineered Quadrofoil is lifted above the water onto four wing-like hydrofoils where it &apos;flies&apos; above the surface with minimal water resistance. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Giants Unveil Latest Models at Technology Show

Smartphone Giants Unveil Latest Models at Technology Show

AFP (Mar. 2, 2015) Mobile providers have been unveiling their upcoming models at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, showing off the latest in smartphone technology. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Tech Challenges Facing Automakers

The Tech Challenges Facing Automakers

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) This year&apos;s The International Motor Show is getting underway in Geneva. As Sonia Legg reports its taking place as Europe&apos;s beleaguered car industry finally starts showing signs of picking up. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins