• Simple solution for removing arsenic from water

    Almost 100 million people in developing countries are exposed to dangerously high levels of arsenic in their drinking water, unable to afford complex purification technology; scientists developed a simple, inexpensive method for removing arsenic based on chopped up pieces of ordinary plastic beverage bottles coated with a nutrient found in many foods and dietary supplements

  • 1st Detect receives U.S. patent for chemical detector

    A portable mass spectrometry detector, capable of detecting residues and vapors from explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic chemicals, food and beverage contamination, illicit drugs and pollution, is awarded U.S. patent

  • New device identifies unknown liquids instantly

    Materials scientists and applied physicists have invented a new device that can instantly identify an unknown liquid; the 3D-nanostructured chip offers a litmus test for surface tension (and doubles as a carrier for secret messages); the researchers are currently developing more precisely calibrated chips and conducting field tests with government partners for applications in quality assurance and contaminant identification

  • Nanowire-based sensors detect volatile organic compounds

    Researchers have made nano-sized sensors that detect volatile organic compounds — harmful pollutants released from paints, cleaners, pesticides, and other products — which offer several advantages over today’s commercial gas sensors, including low-power room-temperature operation and the ability to detect one or several compounds over a wide range of concentrations

  • Massachusetts firefighters purchase chemical fire equipment

    Local firefighters in Massachusetts recently received a new foam trailer capable of pumping out 500 gallons per minute; to control chemical fires and other difficult blazes, firefighters often use foam to coat the fuel to deprive the fire of oxygen; the new foam trailer is particularly useful as Ayer is home to several chemical and electrical facilities

  • Smiths Detection wins two government contracts

    The Department of Defense (DoD) recently awarded Smiths Detection a $30 million contract to supply the military with chemical detection devices; under the contract Smiths Detection will provide its newly enhanced M4A1 JCADs, a portable detection device that weighs less than two pounds and warns of the presence of any dangerous chemical warfare agents or toxic chemicals; Smiths Detection also received a 16 million Euro contract from the German Federal Ministry of Finance to provide X-ray scanners for cargo systems

  • Floyd County gets additional $75,000 for CBRNE unit

    Floyd County in Georgia has received two DHS grants worth $75,000 to replace and repair equipment for its chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) response unit; the bulk of the money, approximately $65,000, will go towards replacing aging equipment, while the rest will go towards repairs; the CBRNE team was originally created four years ago with nearly $350,000 in DHS funding as part of the state’s terrorism prevention initiative

  • Improving safety in the presence of chemical hazards

    A new kind of sensor could warn emergency workers when carbon filters in the respirators they wear to avoid inhaling toxic fumes have become dangerously saturated; first responders protect themselves from such vapors, whose composition is often unknown, by breathing through a canister filled with activated charcoal — a gas mask; airborne toxins stick to the carbon in the filter, trapping the dangerous materials, and as the filters become saturated, chemicals will begin to pass through; the respirator can then do more harm than good by providing an illusion of safety

  • Magnetic "nanobeads" detect chemical and biological agents

    Researchers at Oregon State University have found a way to use magnetic “nanobeads” to help detect chemical and biological agents, with possible applications in everything from bioterrorism to medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, or even water and food safety; rapid detection of chemical toxins used in bioterrorism would be possible, including such concerns as anthrax, ricin or smallpox, where immediate, accurate and highly sensitive tests would be needed

  • Trees as contamination detectors

    Determining the presence and concentration of contaminants has been an invasive, laborious process; now a Missouri University of Science and Technology team has developed a faster, more economical method of determining such contamination at miniscule levels; the Army has funded additional research for explosive residue detection

  • OSU chemist developing solution to nerve agent exposure

    Scientists are working to develop a new drug that will regenerate a critical enzyme in the human body that “ages” after a person is exposed to deadly chemical warfare agents; the drug will counter the effects of Tabun, VX, VR, Sarin, Soman, Cyclosarin, and Paraoxon, all of which take on a similar molecular structure upon aging

  • Universal detector made of DNA building blocks

    Aptamers are composed of the building blocks of the genetic material DNA; scientists show that aptamers can be used quantitatively to detect and accurately examine multifaceted substances; a method for detecting such diverse substances as antibiotics, narcotics, and explosives - in effect, a universal detector — has been developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz

  • Biosensor improves pathogen detection in food, water

    A nanotechnology-based biosensor being developed by Kansas State University researchers may allow early detection of both cancer cells and pathogens, leading to increased food safety and reduced health risks

  • Detecting invisible threats to first responders, soldiers

    There are many methods currently being used that can detect chemical and biological agents and explosive compounds, but none allows for the unique fingerprinting of threat agents at trace levels; researchers have overcome this limitation with surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) using optically stimulated plasmon oscillations in nanostructured substrates; SERS offers several potential advantages over other spectroscopic techniques because of its measurement speed, high sensitivity, portability, and simple maneuverability

  • Army signs deal with ChemImage for explosive detection technology

    The U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense command recently signed a $17 million contract with ChemImage Corporation to implement its real-time sensor technology to detect explosive threats in the field; ChemImage’s technology would give U.S. troops the ability to identify objects from a distance to determine if they are explosive, chemical, or biological threats; the devices rely on molecular spectroscopy and digital imaging to analyze material