Plasmonic Nanosensors for Chemical Warfare Agents
A powerful team of researchers from Northwestern University and MKS Technology has been assembled to develop a portable ultratrace level sensitive sensor for chemical warfare agents. The SERS technology will be developed and evaluated at Northwestern University while the materials and portable instrumentation will be developed and manufactured at MKS Technology. Nanoparticles tuned to a specific excitation will be our source of the LSPR effect and a novel layer-by-layer method will be used to create a gas permeable fiber material with very high sensitivity for chemical warfare agents. Our team realizes that a nanoparticle surface alone is not sufficient to produce strong enhancements for nerve agents. We will use a patented technology to demonstrate selective coupling of acetylcholine esterase inhibitors to our nanomaterials. Preliminary results for this method will be presented along with trace detection of blister agents. It is also clear that a potent SERS material for chemical warfare agent detection is not the only piece of the puzzle required to meet the objectives expressed by the Army; a portable Raman reader is also required. We will demonstrate a palm-sized low power consumption reader that uniquely identifies the SERS signatures produced by our enhanced nanoparticle materials.
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