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Getting On Duty, Some 'E-dogs' To Sniff Bombs

On its way to developing an ultra-sensitive low cost explosive detector, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, will soon unveil an "e-nose" that will be several times stronger than a dog's olfactory power.

This device, which is also informally called 'E-dog' by the developing team, will find out traces of RDX that existing machines fail to point out. It will be able to detect RDX from 1.5 feet.

The e-nose, which uses a sensor coated with nano materials, is currently under development. V Ramgopal Rao, chair professor at the department of electrical engineering, IIT-Bombay and principal investigator at the institute's centre of excellence in nano-electronics, spoke about the device on the sidelines of the 8th Chandigarh Science Congress (CHASCON) at Panjab University on Wednesday.

CHASCON is being organized by PU in collaboration with various leading educational and research institutions of the Tricity.

The Electronic Nose, or E-dog, is the result of five years of hard work by Rao and his team. The E-nose is made from cantilevers, each of which is the main nano sensor element that is 200 times thinner than a strand of human hair. Rao said the E-Nose has been patented and will be available in markets within two years.

"Sensors will be the next big thing in nanotechnology, which is being used in developing real explosive sensor networks for buses and trains and is equivalent to multiple sniffer dogs," Rao said. A real dog's nose is considered to be 10 million times more sensitive than humans. The E-Nose has an ultra-sensitive nano-electro-mechanical sensor, with a year's maintenance free operation and easy to install like wireless a?? simple plug and play. It uses a rechargeable Li-Po battery.

"India is the first country that will be using this technology and the prototype to detect RDX/TNT has been developed at IIT Bombay with the help of NanoSniff Technologies. The prototypes demonstrated possibility of fabricating handheld systems for explosive detection," Rao added. He said that the systems had shown very positive results in laboratory experiments and match up with commercially available products such as FIDO, which is based on the Fluoresce Quenching Principle.
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