Education and Outreach

NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program: Chemical sensors development for space and terrestrial applications

By Keith Cowing
January 5, 2009

NASA Ames has developed a nanosensor technology for high sensitive and low power chemical sensing using nanostructure, single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT’s), combined with silicon-based micro fabrication and micromachining process. Due to large surface area, low surface energy barrier and high thermal and mechanical stability, nanostructured chemical sensors offer higher sensitivity, lower power consumption and a more robust solution than most state-of-the art systems making them attractive for space and defense applications, as well as a variety of commercial applications. Leveraging the micromachining technology, the light weight and compact sensors can be fabricated, in wafer scale for mass production, with high yield and at low cost. Such sensors have drawn attention from the space community for global weather monitoring, space exploration, life search in the universe, and launch pad fuel leak detection and in-flight cabin monitoring and engine operation monitoring.

Additionally, the wireless capability of such sensors can be leveraged to network mobile and fixed-base detection and warning systems for civilian population centers, military bases and battlefields, as well as other high-value or high-risk assets and areas of industry. The objectives of this opportunity are: 1)Exploit new nanostructured materials for chemical sensing, 2)select a combination of materials to form a sensor array for high sensitive and high selective chemical detection, 3) evaluate new sensors for space and terrestrial applications. The project in this opportunity is a multi-disciplinary research and development effort, which involves chemistry, materials science, micro/nano fabrication and instrumentation Deadline: 5:00 PM EST February 1, 2009.

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻