New Grant: Award Supports Electronic Nose

Peter Burke

March 31, 2022  Principal investigators: Peter J. Burke, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and co-principal investigator Francesco Tombola, associate professor and vice chair of physiology and biophysics

Award: $450,000 over three years

Funding agency: National Science Foundation Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems

Project: Artificial nose using electrophysiology coupled to nanowires: Toward single molecule sensitivity with single atom resolution on chemical species

Burke is developing an engineered electronic nose that can “smell” chemicals and determine what kind of chemicals they are. Each nose will smell only one kind of chemical. The chemicals could be anything that natural noses can detect, such as dynamite, drugs, viruses, toxic chemicals, etc. Receptors from biological noses will be attached to tiny electrical sensors. This technique lays the groundwork for developing high precision chemical detection in general, which can be utilized in a variety of applications requiring high precision process control (i.e., advanced manufacturing). Since the sensor is electronic, it could be integrated into a massively parallel electronic nose system with signal recognition based on hundreds of different sensors onto one chip. An educational outreach program to share the technology will be implemented, designed to reach K-12 educationally disadvantaged students from local neighborhoods.

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− Tonya Becerra