Working with Ying Wang, a former graduate student, Dr. Lei engineered a sensor that provides clear and near-instant results upon contact with explosive vapors. “We initially wanted to synthesize low-cost materials that change color almost immediately when in contact with explosives,” says Lei. The project proved successful and was recently awarded a patent entitled, “Explosives Detection Substrate and Methods of Using the Same.”
The detector senses a range of explosives, from TNT used in construction, to RDX used by the military. It reveals minute traces of explosives when exposed to UV light and viewed by the naked eye.
Lei is now expanding his detection technologies in other forms beyond vapor detection. His latest research seeks to develop a nanoporous florescent film and a fluorescent protein that can reveal explosives in aqueous solutions.
These projects acknowledge funding by the National Science Foundation, the University of Connecticut Prototype Fund, and the Department of Homeland Security. For more information on Dr. Lei and his research, please visit his website.