Miniaturized devices having ultrasensitive ion detection capability are useful as ion detectors in diverse applications, including detection of radioactive material or other sources of radiation, electron/ion beam calibration, monitoring of pressure or vacuum, and detection of energetic particles from outer space. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) have been proposed as an ion sensing element in such devices.
CNT also has been used as a sensing element in a radiation sensor, where the CNT is used to form parallel plate electrodes. However, for any given bias voltage, a CNT- based sensor collects a smaller amount of charge than stainless steel electrodes. 
Despite the use of CNT in the areas of gas and pressure sensing, direct sensing of ions with high sensitivity using carbon nanomaterials and operating at low bias voltages have not been developed.
Technology Overview
In this invention, Northeastern University researchers use carbon-based nanomaterial (CNM) film-containing devices for detecting ions, low-pressure or vacuum levels, or levels of ionizing radiation. The device includes an insulating substrate; first and second metallic contact pads disposed on a surface of the substrate; a strip of carbon-based nanomaterial film, the strip having a first end and a second end, and a housing enclosing the substrate, pads, and CNM film and forming a chamber. A potential differential (voltage) applied across the pads causes current to flow through the CNM film, and ions present in the chamber are detected by a change in the magnitude of the current. 
- Electrode-free, dielectric-free and electrolyte-free
- Ultrahigh sensitivity with low applied voltage
- Working under the vacuum and in the air
- Distinguishing positive and negative ions
- Lightweight, small dimension and simple structure
- The sensing element of mass spectrometer and other instruments
- Radiation detection and protection
- Healthcare
- Space technology
- Public safety
- Military technology
- Ion imaging
- Licensing
- Partnering
- Research collaboration
Patent Information:
-Sensors tech
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
Ji Hao
Swastik Kar
Yung Joon Jung