A research team at the Oregon State University is working on a Microfluidic sensor technology that could use unique iron oxide nanoparticles to detect chemical and biological weapons.
The new technology could be conveniently housed in small analytical devices to detect the presence of chemicals such as anthrax, smallpox and ricin. The Army Research Laboratory is funding the project.
Vincent Remcho, a professor of chemistry who jointly led the research at the University, explained that nanoparticles used for detection are 1000 times smaller in size when compared to the particles used in standard detection tests.
Remcho added that the advantage of using iron-based nanoparticles is that magnetic or electric devices can be used to make the particles function as a signalling system, providing instant access to the available data.
The handheld sensor device would be able to give accurate and quick output and could offer a cost-effective solution for mass production.
A detailed report about the technology was published in Sensors and Actuators dated April 26, 2011.