Free Newsletter
Register for our Free Newsletters
Newsletter
Zones
Advanced Composites
LeftNav
Aerospace
LeftNav
Amorphous Metal Structures
LeftNav
Analysis and Simulation
LeftNav
Asbestos and Substitutes
LeftNav
Associations, Research Organisations and Universities
LeftNav
Automation Equipment
LeftNav
Automotive
LeftNav
Biomaterials
LeftNav
Building Materials
LeftNav
Bulk Handling and Storage
LeftNav
CFCs and Substitutes
LeftNav
Company
LeftNav
Components
LeftNav
Consultancy
LeftNav
View All
Other Carouselweb publications
Carousel Web
Defense File
New Materials
Pro Health Zone
Pro Manufacturing Zone
Pro Security Zone
Web Lec
Pro Engineering Zone
 
 
 
News

Single molecule detection for future border security

CSIRO : 13 October, 2006  (Technical Article)
Advances in the detection of individual molecules that make up potentially hazardous compounds are leading scientists to develop new border security screening tools.
Advances in the detection of individual molecules that make up potentially hazardous compounds are leading scientists to develop new border security screening tools.

CSIRO scientists are working on a range of hand-held sensors which will be able to work at border points, such as airports, to detect concealed bio terrorism agents such as anthrax or ricin, even SARS, with the click of a button on a unit the size of an iPod.

“The aim is to protect Australia by developing technologies that can detect individual biomolecules.”Other potential uses include the detection of disease in food-source animals, toxins in water, contaminated food products or hazardous chemicals in a fire zone.

This developmental work by CSIRO is part of a new research group, Technologies for Safeguarding Australia. Researcher Dr Yonggang Zhu says the project was initiated in response to the government's National Research Priorities, one of which is Safeguarding Australia.

The aim is to protect Australia by developing technologies that can detect individual biomolecules.

The researchers hope to develop a process of detecting and identifying single molecules or organisms (bacterial toxins, viruses or spores, for example) using Surface enhanced Raman Scattering.

Raman Scattering involves scattering light or electromagnetic fields from molecules. When this occurs, some of the light shifts in wavelength, observed as a change in colour. The subtle spectrum of colours, says Dr Zhu, is like a fingerprint that identifies the molecule or particle.

With SeRS, a sample of molecules is washed over a metallic silver surface prepared with a specially designed nano-texture. Light shone on the surface resonates with the texture, which enhances the electromagnetic fields. These lead to an enormous increase in the strength of the Raman Scattering.

Dr Zhu says the trick is to design the surface texture to get the enhancements needed for single molecule detection. At such high sensitivity, contamination of the Raman signal by unwanted molecules then becomes a problem; it is essential to filter the providing platforms for the detection of single molecules.

These platforms combine most of the labour-intensive, laboratory-based analysis steps such as sample transfer, treatment, molecule separation and stirring into a single micro fluidic chip. Understanding the dynamics of these reactions and interactions will form the basis of the new breed of micro devices. Dr Zhu believes such devices could have endless applications.

For example, hand-held detection units could help police or Customs officers detect drugs. Or, fire fighters could protect themselves from toxic air pollution by using held-held units to detect and identify toxins or chemicals that pose a threat to health.
Bookmark and Share
 
Home I Editor's Blog I News by Zone I News by Date I News by Category I Special Reports I Directory I Events I Advertise I Submit Your News I About Us I Guides
 
   Â© 2012 NewMaterials.com
Netgains Logo