The unique advantages offered by nanosensor technology such as minimal susceptibility for false positives, low consumption of power, and superior sensitivity are propelling its application and adoption.
Frost & Sullivan (www.ti.frost.com) finds in its study Advances in Nanosensor Technologies that nanosensor technology development, in most cases at an early stage of the development cycle, offers capabilities that will prove useful in a wide range of functions. The technology requires commercialization before effective deployment in application areas. Partnerships would help both in developing these technologies and in streamlining them to meet mainstream end-user needs.
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Strategic partnerships, especially with government entities such as the Army, Navy and Air Force will aid development, application and adoption of nanosensor technology. Government funding for research and development (R&D) will help guide and focus research on ‘actual engineering solutions', that will find specific uses in critical areas where nanosensor technology's capabilities are needed.
"The investments made by governments into basic research by funding national laboratories, or through grants to university research programs, will help the development of nanosensor technology, at two levels," explains Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Rahul Nayar. "It will help generate basic knowledge bases that product and technology development must rest on, and the funding also enables critical early stage R&D driving the progress of nanosensor technology."
Commercial partnerships also are key to the success of nanosensor technology in the mainstream markets, as they provide much needed applications level knowledge to developers. These symbiotic relationships between developers and larger application level firms, project the dual benefit of combining emerging technologies with niche uses and then extending that combination through to the commercialization and product development phases.
This surge in R&D satisfies an imperative and urgent need for enhanced solution capability. For instance, the need to defend against chemical and biological warfare demand that current high-performance technologies push the envelope, paving the way for highly sensitized solutions that nanosensor technologies can fulfill through the use of nanomaterials as a sensing device.
"The increased surface area of nanomaterials – a basic characteristic for a nanopower, or a carbon nanotube – essentially increases the area available to interact with an analyte; this leads to increased sensitivity for the sensor platform, resulting in improved performances," explains Nayar. "The nature of the technology used – for instance, a specific nanomaterial coated with a specific enzyme – can make these devices quite specific to the analyte being sensed."
In fact, this technology offers solutions for niche applications commonly evading conventional technologies. However, nanosenor capabilities extend beyond niche solutions to a wide cross section of applications.
"Nanosensor technology will be worth tracking as it transitions from a primarily lab-level technology to a powerful commercial entity finding its way into a broad spectrum of uses," adds Nayar.
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Advances in Nanosensor Technologies