UW Invention Targets Terrorist Weapons

Aug 23, 2006

University of Wyoming researchers have developed and patented a technology that can rapidly detect explosives such as the liquid compounds that were part of a recently-thwarted plot to detonate bombs on as many as 10 U.S.-bound airliners.

Pat Sullivan, a professor in the UW Department of Chemistry, is one of three scientists who received a patent for sensors that can be made to rapidly detect volatile chemical targets.

"We have developed a portable, lightweight system that can detect explosives used in bombs, accelerants used in arsons, biological species used in biological weapons, if fact, it can be used to detect any compound for which an antibody can be made," says Sullivan, who holds the patent along with Lew Noe, UW professor emeritus of chemistry, and former UW Professor John Bowen, now on the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma. "Even more important, this technology can detect specific compounds in liquids and in air and could be applied to prevent terrorist acts."

Tony Nevshemal, director of UW's Research Products Center (RPC), says the technology, called surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, offers substantial commercial opportunities.

"This system makes it possible to develop low-cost devices capable of detecting explosives in airports, land mines, or other security situations and detecting airborne biological agents such as those used in biological weapons," he says. "The possibilities are endless and the market for such a device is worldwide."

"In this day and age, terrorist activities are an extreme threat to our national security and are the source of danger and intimidation worldwide,” Nevshemal says. "Technology that can be applied to prevent terrorist acts is of immeasurable importance in the United States and around the world."

Source: University of Wyoming

Explore further: Dead feeder cells support stem cell growth

Related Stories

Weighing and imaging molecules one at a time

1 hour ago

Building on their creation of the first-ever mechanical device that can measure the mass of individual molecules, one at a time, a team of Caltech scientists and their colleagues have created nanodevices ...

How fish fossils can help us build better submarines

Apr 23, 2015

The ocean, which covers the vast majority of the world's surface, holds many secrets. For more than a year a multinational team has tried to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on the bottom of ...

Recommended for you

Dead feeder cells support stem cell growth

Apr 24, 2015

Stem cells naturally cling to feeder cells as they grow in petri dishes. Scientists have thought for years that this attachment occurs because feeder cells serve as a support system, providing stems cells ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.