University researchers have created a diffraction-based sensor that can accurately detect chemicals and biological material in the environment, smartplanet.com reported.
According to researchers at Purdue University, the sensor is made from a polymer called a hydrogel, which can detect the pH level of the surrounding liquid, and therefore reveal the identity of the substance-in-question.
The hydrogel is able to expand or contract and is sensitive to the environment, the research team explained.
In a statement, Purdue engineering professor Cagri Savran said: "By precise measurement of pH, the diffraction patterns can reveal a lot of information about the sample environment.
"This technology detects very small changes in the swelling of the diffraction grating, which makes them very sensitive."
The research team explained that this type of sensor could be used to keep an eye on waterways or to detect glucose levels in blood.
They are, in fact, currently working on making the sensors even more sensitive than they are at present.
Posted by Andre Dixon