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Navy Sensor Developed for IED Detection; Christopher Field Comments

PentagonThe Pentagon has developed technology that can sniff out improvised explosive devices using silicon-based sensors.

The SiN-VAPOR, or Silicon Nanowires in a vertical array with a porous electrode, can detect the signature chemicals used in making the homemade bombs and can be packaged in a small form factor lightweight enough for field operations, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory said Aug. 14.

NRL researchers say they have achieved parts-per-billion sensitivity with the 3D architecture and the next phase of development will focus on selectivity.

According to Christopher Field, NRL research lead, his team will leverage the advances chip makers have made on silicon structures.

“Combine that experience with the scientists and facilities that we have here at NRL, we are very excited and confident about getting over that last hurdle to transition this technology to the warfighter and also to the consumer,” Field said.

The main hurdle in IED detection is that its trace chemicals can be masked by an abundance of perfume, diesel exhaust or other compound, the report said.

The goal of the project is to develop a small field-deployable, distributed sensor.

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