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Grant Program: Advanced Nanosensors for Continuous Monitoring of Heavy Metals (EPA 2002 STAR Grant)
Grant Agency: U.S. EPA
Grant Project Number: R830906
Period of Performance: 05/01/2003 through 04/30/2006
Grant Amount: $351,000
Contact Information: Investigators: Omowunmi Sadik (osadik@binghamton.edu, SUNY at Binghamton) & Joseph Wang (New Mexico State Univ.)

This research will utilize novel nanostructured materials in ways that might be exploited in sensing technologies for the detection, identification, and quantitation of metals. The overall objective is to incorporate novel colloidal-metal nanoparticles into a bed of electrically conducting polymers (ECPs) for the development of nanosensors. Specific objectives include the following: (1) Prepare, characterize, and optimize colloidal metal nanoparticles sequestered within conducting polymers using photochemical polymerization. The resulting materials will be tested for the design of metal nanosensors. (2) Design and test the novel nanosensors for the identification, detection, speciation, and quantitation of EPA's priority metal contaminants such as iron, arsenic, nickel, cadmium, mercury, lead, chromium and copper from aqueous streams. (3) Fabricate disposable nanosensors/nanochips using the NMSU Nanofabrication facility and apply the sensor to the analysis of metal ions from aqueous effluents. Preliminary results using custom-designed ECPs showed remarkable metal sensitivity in the parts-per-trillion levels. The nanosensor will be regenerated using a potential step where the applied potential is reversed and the solution reservoir at the outlet of the sensor is changed, thereby providing a continuous and uninterrupted detection of the metals.