Penny for Your Thoughts

Air Force Office of Scientific Research-sponsored work at the University of California at Sam Diego has yielded an inexpensive sensor the size of a penny that could be carried on micro unmanned aerial vehicles to detect bombs. The sensor, which currently costs less than one dollar per unit, uses ultrathin films of cobalt and copper that can pick up even minute amounts of peroxide vapors in the air that could signify the presence of certain types of improvised explosive devices. The technology also has the potential for broader applications in sniffing out chemicals both for military purposes and in homeland security roles. The UCSD researchers have applied for a patent for the sensor. (AFOSR report by Maria Callier)