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Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc. (ADT) has been awarded the first phase of a three-year, $4.8 million contract from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop diamond-based sensors for the real-time detection of water-based chemical and biological agents. The project’s goal is to develop miniature devices to protect first-responders during a terrorist event by detecting water-borne pathogens, bacterial agents and toxins. Project collaborators include the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
ADT’s nanostructured diamond, known as UNCD®, will be used to make diamond devices that are extremely sensitive detectors of chemical and biological agents. Diamond forms a stable and strong bond with biomolecules in water, whereas other materials immediately degrade and fail. This durability, coupled with ADT’s expertise in the microfabrication of UNCD, will make portable, reusable sensors a reality.
“There is an enormous need, both for military and civilian uses, to have a quick, reusable, and portable sensor to detect harmful, and occasionally weaponized, pathogens,” said Neil Kane, ADT’s president. “This award-winning team of biochemists, electrochemists, materials scientists and microsystems experts will develop bold new products to save lives.”
The worldwide market for chemical and biological sensors is estimated by several market research firms to be greater than $10 billion. The need to protect people from environmental and deliberate threats is accelerating.
“Smooth, electrically conducting diamond film has many potential advantages for biosensors,” said John Carlisle, ADT’s chief technical officer. “By using MEMS (micro electrical mechanical systems) technology, we can miniaturize the devices, making it economically feasible for people to carry a sensor in their wallet or as a piece of jewelry and allow them, for example, to determine if water is safe to drink. In the case of military personnel or first-responders, detectors could be integrated into uniforms or personal protective equipment.”
For more information, visit www.thindiamond.com.