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"Cell phones are everywhere people are, this technology could map a chemical accident as it unfolds," said Michael Sailor, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego who heads the research effort.
In collaboration with Rhevision, Inc., a small startup company located in San Diego, Sailor's research group at UCSD has successfully finished the first phase of development of the sensor and have begun to work on a prototype that will link to a cell phone.
The sensor- a porous flake of silicon- changes colour when it interacts with specific chemicals. By manipulating the shape of the pores, the researchers can tune individual spots on the silicon flake to respond to specific chemical traits.