Nanodog - The Biosensor That Can 'Sniff' Out Explosives

Device Overcomes the Usual Need to Intrude on Passengers' Personal Space

Jul 19, 2006, 01:00 ET from Welsh Assembly Government

    NEW YORK, July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Scientists in Wales have developed a
 biosensor capable of detecting and identifying very low levels of
 explosives in the atmosphere -- a technology with potential to be a major
 contributor in the battle against terrorism.
     The biosensor was developed by a team from the School of Chemistry at
 the University of Wales Bangor (UWB) led by Professor Maher Kalaji, head of
 the School of Chemistry.
     With support from the Welsh Assembly Government's Knowledge
 Exploitation Fund, the team has successfully developed the biosensor,
 patented the technology and is currently working towards a prototype for
     The small biosensor device, referred to as the "nanodog," employs
 nanotechnology to achieve its sensitivity. The sensor can detect explosives
 in the part-per-trillion range. It uses enzymes to detect explosives --
 even if they are concealed, not only detecting very small amounts of
 explosives, but also can be developed to reveal the identity of the
 explosive material.
     Potential applications include screening airport passengers and
 luggage, and working alongside sniffer dogs to reduce the threat of
 terrorism. The compact nature of the device also offers opportunity for
 passive sensing in areas with security requirements and will, for example,
 sense explosives as passengers walk though security portals without
 intruding on their personal space as current technologies do.
     Based on presentations and demonstrations, governmental and private
 sector organizations in the U.S. and Europe have expressed interest,
 indicating that the still-young technology is extremely effective in
 response time and detection levels.
     UWB will be a major partner in the development of sensors for
 explosives with its biosensor a core technology in the project, which
 brings together a consortium of 26 EU organizations.
     "This is an exciting project, and support from the Knowledge
 Exploitation Fund has been invaluable -- without this resource we would not
 have been able to undertake proof-of-concept work, a vital early step
 toward product development," Professor Kalaji said.
     "This latest project could have a huge impact in the fight against
 terrorism, and support from the Knowledge Exploitation Fund illustrates the
 importance of working with academia to provide funding and support that
 enables the commercialization of research," Andrew Davies, Minister for
 Enterprise Innovation and Networks, noted.

SOURCE Welsh Assembly Government