Thursday, 19.04.2018
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Daily news from the Canaries and the islands
   Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line

The sensor
MIT pencil
Scientists have created a pencil-shaped apparatus that draws miniscule sensors, for detecting harmful gases, onto a sheet of paper.


line
31.10.2012 - The inner section of the pencil is made out of infinitesimally thin carbon sheets that are rolled into tubes much narrower than a human hair. They are used to draw on specially prepared paper that is imprinted with gold stripes that act as electrodes. By running electricity through them it is possible to measure how much current flows through the gaps coated with the pencils writing. Gases will bind to the carbon nanotubes as they pass through them, impeding the electron flow and altering the current to provide a readable result. The work was carried out at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and will have applications in the food industry, the military and healthcare. One of the sensors main uses is to detect ammonia, a colourless gas used in farming and industry, which is highly poisonous in high quantities and could also be used in terrorist activities. Armies already use paper-based sensors to detect the presence of harmful gases, which are stuck onto suits and change colour when exposed to a specific substance, but researchers have stated that this is a much safer alternative to the one already in operation, which utilises a toxic substance that can damage the nervous system.



Gallery: MIT pencil
 
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