Posted on Mar 24, 2009, 10 a.m.
By gary clark
Using nanotechnology, chemists from Moscow State University have created the "Foxilab," a device that is so sensitive it can detect the presence of dangerous substances in the air â€“ even the slightest amount.
Nanotechnology - the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale - was used by scientists from Moscow University to create sensors that are able to detect even the smallest amounts of dangerous gases in the air. Like a dog's extraordinary sense of smell, the device - dubbed an artificial nose - is far more sensitive than other gas analyzers and can even distinguish one gas from another. Says Valery Krivetsky, a post-graduate student at Moscow State University, "First of all, the device allows us to find out the presence of dangerous substances in the air. Secondly, it gives information about the concentration of these substances." Alexander Gaskov, Professor of Chemistry at the University, explains that the scientists "used special nanoparticles which have nanoreceptors on their surface. These nanoreceptors define groups of gases and separate them from others. The receptors can be applied in different fields of science."
Devices based on this technology are already used in airports, underground stations and on the street. When a concentration of gases reaches a dangerously high level, the device issues an immediate alert. The researchers from the University are looking to take the technology even further by shrinking the device to the size of a SIM card for cell phones. "Now we want to create the tiny version of this device, which could be inserted into a cell phone to inform a person about the concentration of dangerous gases. The device could, for example, inform its user about the increase of carbonic dioxide concentration when he or she gets stuck in a traffic jam," notes Marina Rumyantseva, a senior lecturer in chemistry of the Moscow State University.
News Release: Artificial nose detects dangerous gases in the air www.english.pravda.run March 3, 2009