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Lab develops a battery-less chemical sensor

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today.  A new, battery-less chemical sensor, developed by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, relies on semiconductor nanowires instead of a traditional external power source.  Researcher Morris Wang explains how this new technology works.

Wang:            Traditional sensors typically need a battery to power or to measure the electrical signals.  So, our sensor does not require a battery. We discovered a new mechanism; many smaller molecules, when they interact with certain semiconductors such as silicone or zinc oxide, they will generate a specific electrical signal, what we call voltage.  And those specific electrical signals allowed us to distinguish between different molecules.  Different molecules will generate different electrical signatures, so we are able to monitor the electrical signals to get an idea of what kind of molecules exist in the air or in any environment.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.