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CLU-IN Studio
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Nanotechnology - Environmental Sensors
Sponsored by: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Superfund Basic Research Program
Original Time/Date of Presentation:

May 31, 2007, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM, EDT (18:00-20:00 GMT)

Presentation Overview:

The Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP), in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), presents "Nanotechnology - Environmental Sensors." Nanotechnology involves the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers. In terms of environmental sensing, the use of nanotechnology has led to the production of numerous small-scale, rapid, sensitive multi-analyte instruments useful not only in the laboratory, but also as field portable instruments. This seminar will provide an overview of some of the capabilities and advantages of these nanotechnology-based sensors.

Dr. Paul Gilman, Founding Director of the Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies (ORCAS), and Dr. Desmond Stubbs (ORCAS) will overview recent collaborations in the development of sensors using nano and micro materials. Apart from their remarkably small size, these devices offer a number of practical advantages: use of a universal platform for real-time detection, simultaneous detection of a wide range of targets on one chip, and sensitivity that approaches that of detector dogs (hence, the name "dog-on-a-chip").

Dr. Ian Kennedy, Professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering (University of California - Davis) will focus on using nanoparticles of lanthanides (rare-earth elements) as an extremely sensitive luminescent label for environmental detection. Lanthanide phosphors offer highly advantageous properties that the UC-Davis team has exploited to develop immunosensors and DNA sensors that are carried out on the surface of a magnetic nanophosphor particle. These sensors have been used to measure pesticides in water, toxins in food, and MTBE remediating bacterial DNA in soil.

Dr. David Balshaw (NIEHS) will moderate. This is the fifth seminar in the Risk-e-Learning Series "Nanotechnology - Applications and Implications for Superfund." Previous seminars aired on CLU-IN January 18, 2007, February 13, 2007, March 15, 2007 & April 19, 2007; audio recordings are available through the CLU-IN archives.

Presenters: Instructor: Moderator:
  • David Balshaw, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (
  • Larry Whitson, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Contractor, MDB, Inc (
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