Carbon Nanotubes used to sniff out Harmful Airborne Substances

Nosang Myung, a Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of California has created an electronic ‘nose’ using nanotechnology, which he says could be integrated into portable technology like cellphones to ‘smell’ harmful airborne substances.

The technology uses functionalised carbon nanotubes that are 100,000 times finer than human hair and when functionalised are able to detect a multitude of targeted air-borne substances.

The technology being developed by Nosang Myung has the potential to be adapted in many industries. These include agriculture (detecting concentrations of pesticides), industry (monitoring evaporation and leaks when using or storing combustible gases), homeland security (warning systems for bio-terrorism) and the military (detecting chemical warfare agents).

Myung’s research has been licensed by start-up company Nano Engineering Applications, Inc., which was created and funded by Innovation Economy Corporation. It’s still early days but the hope in the future is to integrate this technology into your mobile phone so that it can measure air quality and toxins, paring this data with GPS details that can be used to check the the safety of the air in any given area.

Source: University of California