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UT and Y-12 Chemical Sensing Technology Wins National R&D100 Award

A low-cost chemical sensor invented by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, chemistry professor in partnership with the Y-12 National Security Complex has been recognized by R&D Magazine as a top technology product in the marketplace.

Michael Sepaniak

Michael Sepaniak

The invention, the product of UT Chemistry Professor Michael Sepaniak and collaborators at Y-12, was selected this weekend for the 2015 R&D100 Award—known in the field as the “Oscars of innovation.” The award recognizes the top 100 technology projects of the year and honors the inventors.

ChIMES (Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic Sensing) is a new low-cost passive chemical sensing technology. The sensors are based on a set of target response materials that expand in the presence of a target. The expanding volume puts stress on materials, changing their magnetic properties so they can be detected wirelessly.

What makes the devices unique is that they are small, their appearance and size can be easily tailored, and they can detect multiple targets at once.

“We are extremely proud of the efforts of our researchers,” said Janet Nelson, UT associate vice chancellor for research development.

“These awards recognize only the most promising developments to hit the marketplace in the previous year. That our team, in partnership with Y-12, made this list is a testament to the innovative and collaborative work being done at the University of Tennessee today.”

The team also included Nahla Abu Hatab, a UT postdoctoral researcher, and Nichole Crane, a UT graduate student.

The ChIMES technology group was one of three UT teams among the 300 finalists for the award.

The joint UT-Y12 Lithium Indium Diselenide Thermal Neutron Imager project includes Assistant Professor Eric Lukosi and Y-12 Joint Assistant Professor Ashley Stowe, both of the UT Department of Nuclear Engineering, while the joint UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Universal Grid Monitoring and Analyzing System includes Governor’s Chair Yilu Liu, Research Assistant Professor Yong Liu, and Lingwei Zhan of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Learn more about R&D Magazine and read about the other finalists.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, lalapo@utk.edu)