Tech Transfer eNews Blog

U of Utah start-up acquired for tech that uses nanofibers to detect chemicals


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 20th, 2021

Gentex, a supplier of electro-optical parts for the automotive, aircraft and fire protection industries, has acquired a University of Utah (U of U) startup for its novel chemical-detecting technology.

Founded by professor Ling Zang, Vaporsens has developed a chemical sensor that uses a net of nanofibers, each approximately one thousand times smaller than human hair. These fibers absorb targeted molecules from sampled gas and can identify them via changes in their electrical resistance. The technology can detect a wide variety of chemicals, including explosives, drugs, toxic industrial chemicals, volatile organic compounds, and more.

The patents related to Vaporsens’ technology are included in Gentex’s acquisition of the start-up. According to Gentex’s chief technology officer Neil Boehm, the technology “can be used in a wide variety of markets and industries, with potential applications for automotive, aerospace, agriculture, chemical manufacturing, military and first responders, worker safety, food and beverage processing, and medical — anywhere chemical sensing is needed.”

Boehm continues, “Vaporsens is the perfect complement to our existing smoke detection technology. By combining our smoke and chemical detection technologies we can offer complete, holistic sensing for the automotive industry and other key markets. In autonomous vehicles, these units will become increasingly important to vehicle operators in order to keep passengers safe and vehicles clean.”

Source: Gentex

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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