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Materials & Assembly
Printed Sensor Detects Improvised Explosive Devices
11/2/2011

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Pictured here are three wireless devices that use carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to achieve high sensitivity to ammonia. At left is a patch antenna, inkjet-printed on photographic paper, with the CNTs shown in black. At top center is an omni-directional segmented loop antenna on a soft substrate, designed for potential 5.8 GHz RFID integration. At bottom right is an inter-digitated capacitor on silicon substrate with CNT loading across the electrodes, being tested for its DC resistance.  (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek.)
Pictured here are three wireless devices that use carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to achieve high sensitivity to ammonia. At left is a patch antenna, inkjet-printed on photographic paper, with the CNTs shown in black. At top center is an omni-directional segmented loop antenna on a soft substrate, designed for potential 5.8 GHz RFID integration. At bottom right is an inter-digitated capacitor on silicon substrate with CNT loading across the electrodes, being tested for its DC resistance.
(Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek.)

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vimalkumarp
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Gold
printed sensor
vimalkumarp   11/26/2011 11:10:16 AM
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This is a very important development not only for the military but also in civilian such as medical applications. This reminds me of the "electronic nose " design of Technion http://rbni.technion.ac.il/?cmd=news.0&act=read&id=226

 

 

Alexander Wolfe
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Blogger
Homeland Security
Alexander Wolfe   11/23/2011 8:48:55 AM
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Homeland security is going to be an increasingly important sector for design engineers. One thing that's lacking is turnkey solutions which bundle everything from the sensor to the software to the under interface to the packaging and deployment. (For an interesting development in that regard, in the airport perimeter security realm, see a story I did a while back on some IBM work --  "IBM Patenting Airport Security Profiling Technology.")

 That said, this sensor is a great advance in terms of applicability to portable devices.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Secret weapon
Ann R. Thryft   11/15/2011 3:04:45 PM
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The main advantages here seems to be low cost and easy to manufacture in large volumes. And it does look like the idea is for military personnel print the sensors onsite. Is that right, Susan?

Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Re: Secret weapon
Jack Rupert, PE   11/14/2011 3:33:38 PM
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What am I missing?  If the sensor requires a special printer and special ink cartridges, what is the advantage over standard manufacturing?  Or is the idea that the military (or whoever) would purchase their own printer / "ink" and make the items onsite?

Susan Kuchinskas
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Blogger
Re: Secret weapon
Susan Kuchinskas   11/10/2011 10:55:21 AM
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That's a good question, Beth. The researchers hope to spin off a company to build a manufacturing facility. While startup costs could run into the millions, once that's accomplished, printing the sensors would be fast and inexpensive.

Ratsky
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Platinum
Just two words.....
Ratsky   11/3/2011 1:22:41 PM
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WET DIAPERS!

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Printed sensor detects ammonia
William K.   11/2/2011 7:58:13 PM
I can see some value in such a sensor, and it certainly is a great invention. Unfortunately it would not be able to detect any of the non-ammonia based explosives, of which there are many. For example, consider plain old gunpowder, using a potasium based compound, and nitroglyceren , and that old military standby "C4".  So while it is a great contribution, it does not end the problem. Aside from that, there is an easy and simple way to render the sensor useless. But I won't describe that method at all.

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Secret weapon
sensor pro   11/2/2011 10:47:45 AM
This may become a great product and very IMPORTANT one. We need to doall we can to support and help our troops. This is a very nice idea, but clearly it is important to isolate the amonia from regular uses and minimize errors.

 

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Secret weapon
Beth Stackpole   11/2/2011 9:20:52 AM
Given the toll that IEDs have had on troops and civilians, this seems like a technology that could have some real life-saving impact. I'm curious, though if specialized ink-jet printers and photographic paper limit production to a laboratory scale, how realistic is it that these sensors can really make a different in sniffing out dangerous explosives?

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