Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Not Just For Eatin': Blue Crab Nano-Sensor Detects Dangers

Date:
July 31, 2006
Source:
University of Maryland, A. James Clark School of Engineering
Summary:
A substance found in crab shells is the key component in a nanoscale sensor system developed by researchers at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering. The sensor can detect minute quantities of explosives, bioagents, chemicals, and other dangerous materials in air and water, potentially leading to security and safety innovations for airports, hospitals, and other public locations.

Chesapeake Blue Crab.
Credit: Clark School of Engineering—University of Maryland

A substance found in crab shells is the key component in a nanoscale sensor system developed by researchers at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering. The sensor can detect minute quantities of explosives, bioagents, chemicals, and other dangerous materials in air and water, potentially leading to security and safety innovations for airports, hospitals, and other public locations.

Clark School engineers are using a substance called chitosan (pronounced "kite-o-san"), found in the shells of the Chesapeake Bay's famous blue crab, to coat components of the microscopic sensor system.

Crab lovers can hold on to their mallets -- crabs do not need to be harvested specifically for this purpose. The material is extracted from the crab shell waste.

Reza Ghodssi, associate professor in the Clark School's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the university's Institute for Systems Research (ISR), and a member of the Maryland NanoCenter , is one of the investigators leading the project. He is joined by a multidisciplinary group: Gary Rubloff from ISR and the NanoCenter, Bill Bentley from the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and Greg Payne from the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI).

"Chitosan is interesting because it's a biological compound that can interact with a wide variety of substances, and also work well in a complex, sensitive device," Ghodssi says.

Ghodssi's graduate students, Nathan Siwak, Stephan Koev, Jonathan McGee and Mike Fan, are helping to develop the nanoscale "system on a chip." It employs multiple miniature vibrating cantilevers, similar to diving boards (see photo to left), that are coated with chitosan, plus optical sensing technology that can see when the cantilevers' vibrations change (such devices are called micro-electro-mechanical systems or MEMS).

Different cantilevers can detect different substances and concentrations. When a targeted substance enters the device from the air or water, the chitosan on a specific cantilever interacts with the substance and causes that cantilever's vibration to change its characteristics. The optical sensing system sees the vibration change and indicates that the substance has been detected.

Ghodssi and his collaborators have recently submitted a proposal to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a sensor system to detect the presence of avian flu.

The technology was developed and initially tested at the Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS) in College Park, Md., and it is currently sponsored by LPS and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

"This is an exciting and complex microsystem that bridges biotechnology and nanotechnology to address critical needs of homeland security applications. My colleagues and I are expecting this work to become a product in the near future," says Ghodssi, who has to date filed for six patents on the technology.

Parts of this research were recently featured in the Journal of Micromechanics & Microengineering in April 2006 and the journal Biomacromolecules in November 2005.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland, A. James Clark School of Engineering. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Maryland, A. James Clark School of Engineering. "Not Just For Eatin': Blue Crab Nano-Sensor Detects Dangers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060731152911.htm>.
University of Maryland, A. James Clark School of Engineering. (2006, July 31). Not Just For Eatin': Blue Crab Nano-Sensor Detects Dangers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060731152911.htm
University of Maryland, A. James Clark School of Engineering. "Not Just For Eatin': Blue Crab Nano-Sensor Detects Dangers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060731152911.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Airlines Swanky New Plane

China Airlines Swanky New Plane

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) China Airlines debuted their new Boeing 777, and it's more like a swanky hotel bar than an airplane. Enjoy high-tea, a coffee bar, and a full service bar with cocktails and spirits, and lie-flat in your reclining seats. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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