Additional Participants

Graduate Student

Shivashanker Bitla
Eric Berkenpas
Thomas Pollard

Technician, Programmer

Lee Bickerstaff

Other Participant

Henri Gignoux
Lynn Alley

Research Experience for Undergraduates

Tim Beaucage
Amanda Scheinfeldt

Project Period

September 1, 2002-August 31, 2003

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



Bioterrorism threats and attacks in civilian environments require sensors that can rapidly and accurately detect minute quantities of pathological bioagents. Selective and inexpensive sensors are urgently needed to detect pathogens in liquid environments, including food and water supplies. Conventional laboratory analyses are time-consuming, labor-intensive and inconsistent with the expedient response required in the wake or possibility of a bioterrorist act.

The activities proposed in this Small Grant for Exploratory Research (SGER) are multidisciplinary and involve two faculty members from the University of Maine. Dr. Mauricio Pereira da Cunha, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will provide expertise in the area of sensor platform development in general, and acoustic wave sensors in particular. Pereira DaCunha is a 2002 NSF CAREER award recipient, who has worked for more than 16 years in the acoustics microwave area. Dr. Paul Millard, from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is a microbiologist with more than 15 years of experience in microbial detection and analysis. Both Pereira da Cunha and Millard are affiliated with the University of Maine's Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, a multidisciplinary laboratory with appropriate facilities for the realization of the proposed tasks.

This project determined the validity of integrating biomolecular technology with a novel SH-SAW sensor platform. This NSF SGER initiative permitted proof-of-concept verification of the LGS SH-SAW biosensor device and the results gave rise to a full proposal. It is expected that research and development of this particular sensor will permit the further creation of sensors for use in a wide range of environmental, medical, industrial, homeland security, and military applications. By providing a rapid, reliable and ultimately, inexpensive sensor, the development of this technology will contribute to general well-being of the population at large, and serve as a starting point for the development of an important new class of biosensors.

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