Document Actions

Nano Paint has Possibility to Detect Early Cancers and Boost Anti-terrorism Measures

by Editor1 last modified July 13, 2007 - 15:38

The University of Toronto researchers have found a way to increase precision night vision technology thanks to a light particle-boosting, water-based material found in the infrared spectrum.

Nano Paint has Possibility to Detect Early Cancers and Boost Anti-terrorism Measures

The University of Toronto chemical engineers have been working hard at developing more precise nano paint technologies.

The material has the potential to enhance infrared images tenfold by coating the lenses with a film 1/10th of a millimeter thick and powering material by laser. University of Toronto professors Ted Sargent and Eugenia Kumacheva and colleagues have successfully produced optical gain, using nanometer-sized particles originally suspended in water. The material can be painted onto flexible fabrics, sprayed on windows, and coated on computer chips revealing a new infrared world. This new world features colors with wavelengths longer than the human eye is capable of seeing.

Ted Sargent, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering explains, “The infrared is the wavelength used to send billions of bits of information over thousands of kilometers in fiber-optic cables. Not only does it enable night vision in antiterrorism and search and rescue but it may be used to detect cancer in the first cells to become malignant because living tissue is transparent in certain colors in the infrared."

Chemistry professor Eugenia Kumacheva, the Canada Research Chair in Advanced Polymer Materials, and her team created quantum dots - nanometer-sized particles of the semiconductor lead sulfide - which produce light at carefully chosen infrared wavelengths. Kumacheva and her team invented a simple, one-stage, water-based synthesis that produced ready-to-use quantum dots.

The engineers then made thin, smooth films out of Kumacheva's materials by depositing a drop of water containing the nanoparticles onto a piece of glass and simply letting it dry. "When we used intense lasers to excite the nonmaterials, we found that the film could double the power of light in a propagating beam every 30 microns - about a thousandth of an inch," says Sargent, the Nortel Networks - Canada Research Chair in Emerging Technologies. Amplifying light is necessary for making a laser, for boosting signals on an optical communications chip and for enhancing infrared images in biological and antiterrorism applications.