Researchers at West Virginia University are developing a portable sensor to detect toxic metals in water, soil and seafood.
The project is funded by a $300,000 National Science Foundation Grant.
It blends biology and nanotechnology -- the study and manipulation of matter finer than a hair.
Nick Wu, assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is the lead researcher. He says detecting toxic metals now requires bulky, labratory-based instruments and large sample volumes, and the process is time-consuming.
The new sensor will be able to detect contaminants on site and in real time.