Researchers use inkjet acumen to create wireless explosive sensor from paper

Meet Krishna Naishadham and Xiaojuan (Judy) Song. They're researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and those little devices they're holding may one day save you from an explosive device. This petite prototype is actually a paper-like wireless sensor that was printed using basic inkjet technology, developed by professor Manos Tentzeris.

Its integrated lightweight antenna allows the sensor to link up with communication devices, while its functionalized carbon nanotubes enable it to pick up on even the slightest traces of ammonia -- an ingredient common to most IEDs. According to Tentzeris, the trick to such inkjet printing lies in the development of "inks" that can be deposited at relatively low temperatures.

These inks, laced with silver nanoparticles, can then be uniformly distributed across paper-based components using a process called sonication. The result is a low-cost component that can adhere to just about any surface. The wireless sensor, meanwhile, requires comparatively low amounts of power, and could allow users to detect bombs from a safe distance.

Naishadham says his team's device is geared toward military officials, humanitarian workers or any other bomb sniffers in hazardous situations, though there's no word yet on when it could enter the market. To find out more, careen past the break for the full PR.


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