Clemson team partners with DTRA to develop nuclear-activity sensor

CLEMSON, S.C. Research targeted at building a biosensor that would help the military detect signs of nuclear activities -- including indications of weapons development -- has been approved, to be conducted under the leadership of a former naval officer who is now a Clemson University faculty member. Nicole Martinez, an assistant professor in the Clemson environmental engineering and earth sciences department, is the lead investigator on the $866,884 project; the research will last three years and could be eligible for a two-year extension, boosting the total to about $1.5 million.

Dr. Martinez and her team -- with funding from the U.S. (DTRA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Defense () -- are beginning to lay the groundwork for a biosensor that could help determine whether any detected is natural or manmade and peaceful or weapons-grade. Such a tool could help investigators search for radiation-producing labs amid concerns that a nation or group could illicitly develop weapons of mass destruction.

A biosensor of the sort under development would improve upon current radiation-detection systems that are easily identified, must be placed close to the radiation source, and report on radiation emitted only at the time the detection system is present.

For more information on this project, please visit the Clemson website.

Photo of Dr. Nicole Martinez courtesy Clemson University

Topics covered in this article