Magnetic nanobeads detect chemical and biological agents

| Print |  Email
Articles - July 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

0711_NextA multi-disciplinary team at Oregon State University is using nanoparticles of iron oxide to help detect chemical and biological agents, proving again Neil Young’s truism that rust never sleeps. Existing methods for identifying chemicals are often time-consuming, and require expensive equipment and trained experts. So Pallavi Dhagat, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering, and Vincent Remcho, a professor of chemistry, assembled a cheap and efficient alternative: a tiny, all-in-one diagnostic laboratory in which the rust nanoparticles perform double duty. The iron oxide helps ferret out the chemical in question, then instantly relays the information, via magnetism and electronics, to a tiny computer, which in turn displays the results to the user. Funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, in collaboration with the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, the magnetic “nanobeads” project began four years ago as a technology to locate bioterrorism toxins. But the system, which Remcho extols for its “sensitivity and specificity,” can also be used in any number of civilian applications, including medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and food and water safety. “It’s an amazingly flexible detection platform,” says Remcho, whose team is currently “miniaturizing ancillary components.” No rest for the rusty.

LINDA BAKER

 

More Articles

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

Ranking the airlines that fly PDX

The Latest
Friday, August 14, 2015
airlinesthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

17 airlines make stops at Portland International Airport, but not all are created equal when it comes to customer service.


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


Read more...

Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

Reader Input: School Choice

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Which of the following would be most effective in reducing the cost of operating a public university in Oregon?


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS