Four young engineers of the premier institute of IIT Bombay, Gaurav Gupta, Vijay S Palaparthy, Shambhulingayya Ningayya Doddapujar & Pallabi Das developed X-niff: Microcantilever based Electronic-nose platform for airborne chemical vapor sensing applications with the help of their guides Prof. Valipe Ramgopal Rao & Prof. Maryam Shojaei Baghini.
Detection of explosives has been the holy grail of product development and research in the personnel and parameter security space for the past two decades. The alarming rise in use of chemically explosive compounds such as RDX, TNT and PETN by anti-social, anti-national and terrorist outfits for executing lethal attacks has led to an imminent need to detect the presence of these explosive materials quickly and accurately. Lethal as they are, these compounds have such low presence in vapour phase that sniffing them is a task assigned to only highly sensitive, trained.
The past decade has seen several technologies emerge to replace dogs since they suffer from fatigue and loss in sensitivity due to changing environmental conditions; however, these products have been known to be bulky and very expensive, limiting their use to only airports and high security zones in the country. A project team led by Prof Ramgopal Rao at IIT-B has been working on developing cost-effective and portable technologies for detection of explosive compounds. The sensors, made of silicon compounds and polymers and coated with monolayers of receptor chemicals engineered to capture explosive compounds, could detect the presence of explosives at concentrations as low as only a few molecules, making them as sensitive as a sniffer dog. These micro sensors are small enough to be integrated into portable hand-held metal detectors, adding a huge edge to personnel security scanning systems. Recently, the project team has developed the advanced sensing platform called X-niff which is the integrated multichannel electronic nose (e-nose) platform developed at IIT-Bombay for detecting and indentifying the trace level of explosives among various interferents with high level of sensitivity and selectively. In principal, it consist of three main components: sensor array for response collection to targeted analyte, related electronics circuit to detect and collect the sensor response and pattern recognition software to analyse andrecognise the particular analyte based on the sensor response pattern. The developed system works in the close resemblance to human nose hence the name.
For this X-niff: Microcantilever based Electronic-nose platform for airborne chemical vapor sensing applications, they received Gandhian Young Technology Innovation Award 2016 organized by BIRAC-SRISTI at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.