Nanoparticles exhibit several unique properties that can be applied to develop chemical and biosensorspossessing desirable features like enhanced sensitivity and lower detection limits. Gold nanoparticles arecoated with sugars tailored to recognise different biological substances. When mixed with a weak solution ofthe sugar-coated nanoparticles, the target substance, e.g., ricin or E.coli, attaches to the sugar, thereby alteringits properties and changing the colour. Spores of bacterium labeled with carbon dots have been found to glowupon illumination when viewed with a confocal microscope. Enzyme/nanoparticle-based optical sensors forthe detection of organophosphate (OP) compounds employ nanoparticle-modified fluorescence of an inhibitorof the enzyme to generate the signal for the OP compound detection. Nanoparticles shaped as nanoprisms,built of silver atoms, appear red on exposure to light. These nanoparticles are used as diagnostic labels thatglow when target DNA, e.g., those of anthrax or HIV, are present. Of great importance are tools like goldnanoparticle-enhanced surface-plasmon resonance sensor and silver nanoparticle surface-enhanced portableRaman integrated tunable sensor. Nanoparticle metal oxide chemiresistors using micro electro mechanical systemhotplate are very promising devices for toxic gas sensing. Chemiresistors comprising thin films of nanogoldparticles, encapsulated in monomolecular layers of functionalised alkanethiols, deposited on interdigitatedmicroelectrodes, show resistance changes through reversible absorption of vapours of harmful gases. Thispaper reviews the state-of-the-art sensors for chemical and biological terror agents, indicates their capabilitiesand applications, and presents the future scope of these devices.
Defence Science Journal, 2008, 58(5), pp.608-616, DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.14429/dsj.58.1683
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