Electrical Nerve Agents Sensors Based on Chemically Functionalized Nanomaterials

J.-P. Simonato

Keywords: nerve agents, sarin, sensor, detection, silicon nanowires, functionalization


The threat of a chemical attack continues to grow and recent examples such as the terrorist attack of the Metro of Tokyo have shown that organophosphorus agents (OPs) are powerful neurotoxic weapons. There is still a lack of supersensitive and specific autonomous sensors for such toxic gases. In this communication we present a new sensor based on the recent developments of nanosciences and nanotechnologies. The miniaturized detectors devices rely on resistors or transistors, using hybrid semiconducting parts made either of silicon nanowires or carbon nanotubes that are chemically functionalized with tailor-made molecules. In particular, a chemical receptor specific to traces of OPs like Sarin has been synthesized and grafted for specific sensing. Our results show that it is possible to detect very efficiently sub-ppm traces of OPs with high selectivity. In this communication we will present results starting at the nanoscale using functionalized nanomaterials, up to their integration in a real demonstrator, and we will show its efficiency in complex mixtures of gases, and its high selectivity with regard to interferents.