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Project SAMSA - Smart Analytical Materials for Supertoxic Agents

Project Description

In this project we aim to develop a new class of sensor molecules which are designed to give different changes in colour or fluorescence upon reaction with different types of target molecule, to allow non-experts to make informed decisions on CWA decontamination.

Here, our goal is to create sensor materials that can detect multiple toxic chemicals. We willl explore incorporating these molecules in a range of materials and determine their sensitivity, selectivity and stability. This will involve preparing polymers incorporating the sensors and testing them against a range of target agents. As part of this work we will develop simulants (analogues) for toxic agents so that work may be undertaken safely.

In the last century, the regrettable development of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) has meant that the ability to detect these supertoxic materials in the field has become global necessity. Previous methods are either plagued by false positives or require experts employing expensive equipment.

Project aims and methods

The challenges here are to engineer sensors with rapid response times and a high degree of selectivity. To achieve this we propose to:
•design and chemically synthesise a range of colorimetric/fluorometric multi-functional sensor molecules
•immobilise them on polymer supports such as cellulose (paper) and PVC
•determine their efficacy in toxic agent detection in liquid and gas phases.

Our research philosophy is to combine custom designed sensor molecules immobilised into materials to create devices capable of detecting several analytes, with ‘symbiotic’ material supports designed to enhance the sensor performance capabilities.

We believe this approach will yield results more rapidly than more traditional lengthy syntheses, and we shall test the project outcomes on a range of proven simulant systems.

Start date: 1st October 2019


Dr Ian Fallis -

Dr Joseph Beames -

Professor Simon Pope -

Funding Notes

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education.

For more information please click on the link below

Related Subjects

How good is research at Cardiff University in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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