A three-year collaboration of scientists from Y‑12 National Security Complex and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville resulted in the innovation of a patented chemical sensor that is unique in several aspects: it’s inexpensive, tiny, and portable; it promises virtually limitless applications; and it allows readings through barriers.
The sensor, named ChIMES (Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic Sensing), received one patent last fall, and scientists anticipate approval this spring of a second patent for applications outside national security.
ChIMES is based on chemical recognition materials called molecular recognition phases, or MRPs. Using strategically selected MRPs, sensors can be made that detect chemical and biological warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, waterborne and airborne pollutants, explosives, illegal drugs, food pathogens, and exhaled gases that indicate disease or illegal drug use, just to name a few possibilities. In fact, the list of applications for the sensor is virtually unlimited, said Y‑12’s Vincent Lamberti, who managed the project. [Read more…]