We’re working with chemiresistor sensors that have potential applications in improving health care, environmental monitoring, national security and mining.

The challenge

Chemiresistor technology

Chemiresistor sensors can detect chemical changes in a nearby environment. Typically they are used as a form of electronic tongue or nose. Until recently chemiresistors could only be used in the detection of materials from vapours.

Our response

Advanced screening systems

Chemiresistor sensors use thin films of gold nanoparticle that change resistance when a substance absorbs into the film. The output from this change in resistance is an electrical signal that reflects a digital fingerprint of the substance being analysed.

Our teams have been developing cost effective chemiresistor sensors capable of screening fluids.

This new technology has opened the door for a wide spectrum of opportunities with applications in environmental monitoring, disease detection, national security and quality assurance in our food and water.

We've had positive results in the detection and identification of types of cancer (lung, colon, prostate) by analysing the volatile organic compounds present in a person's breath.

In other applications, our chemiresistor devices have been able to distinguish between crude oil, diesel, and petrol in seawater and to detect and discriminate between benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene for groundwater monitoring.

Our goals are to advance the technology so it can screen for a wider spectrum of diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and malaria. We're also engaging with other industries such as food manufacturing and pharmaceuticals that could utilise chemiresistors for quality assurance. The technology also potential security applications in explosive detection.

CSIRO has the patent protection around this technology, equipment and knowledge to deliver a significant global impact in advanced screening systems.

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