New imaging technology brings trace chemicals into focus

March 12, 2010

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: ScienceDaily] – Arizona State Univeristy scientist N.J. Tao and his colleagues at the Biodesign Institute have hit on a new, versatile method to significantly improve the detection of trace chemicals important in such areas as national security, human health and the environment.

Tao’s team was able to detect and identify tiny particles of the explosive trinitrotoluene or TNT — each weighing less than a billionth of a gram — on the ridges and canals of a fingerprint. “We can easily detect the TNT traces because we combine the strength of optical microscopy, which gives spatial resolution, with the high sensitivity and selectivity of electrochemical detection,” he said. Results of this research appear in the March 12 issue of Science.

Fore more information: New Imaging Technology Brings Trace Chemicals Into Focus