Rapid and sensitive detection of hazardous chemicals is essential for worker safety in industrial environments and for soldier safety in the field. In this work, we propose a physical coloration platform to passively amplify existing colorimetric sensing mechanisms. We outline a design process which can be targeted to an arbitrary colorimetric indicator and target and fabricate as a demonstration a sensor which produces noticeable color change on reaction with ammonia in the vapor phase.
Chemical warfare agents (CWAs) such as nerve and blister agents are expected to pose continuing and growing dangers for the Warfighter in the future. We investigate a novel chemical detection modality, based on a new platform for colorimetric detection of chemical threats incorporated in hollow fibers, which are miniature in two dimensions and extendable (“extrudable”) in the third dimension (along the fiber length). By exploring fibers, and films that can be scaled to a fiber geometry, we will enable a new fiber-based chemical threat detector that can serve in textiles worn by the Warfighter (e.g., uniform), as well as in non-worn textiles and an outlying fence or perimeter for early detection of a threat cloud near an expeditionary shelter, outpost, encampment, or base.