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National University Professor Developing New Chemical Sensor For Detecting Explosive

February 12, 2004

La Jolla , CA - National University faculty member Shekar Viswanathan , Ph.D., has developed a new type of explosive detector through research funded by a National University Presidential Award grant.

Dr. Viswanathan, in National University 's School of Engineering and Technology, has collaborated with Newbury Park-based Electronic Sensor Technology in the design and operation of an ultra-high speed gas chromatograph that provides new advantages in explosives detection to frontline security teams.

Dr. Viswanathan's explosive detector is able to discern a wider variety of chemical compounds than similar tools, such as ion-mobility spectrometers, while offering better sensitivity and speed. His product can perform analytical measurements of volatile organic vapors within an ambient air sample, identifying and quantifying the minute presence of chemicals in almost real time at rates as low as several parts per trillion

The technology is based upon research that Dr. Viswanathan presented last November at the annual conference of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He also published his findings in the peer reviewed journal of American Chemical Society.

Dr. Viswanathan earned his doctoral degree in technology at the University of Windsor, Canada. He currently resides in San Diego with his wife, who is an adjunct faculty member in National University's school of arts and sciences, and his two daughters.

The National University Presidential Award is presented annually to faculty by National University President Dr. Jerry C. Lee to support scholarship and to assist faculty who are pursuing doctoral degrees.

National University is California 's second-largest private non-profit university, with full-time enrollment exceeding 17,250. For more information regarding Dr. Viswanathan or his ultra-high speed gas chromatograph explosive detector, please contact David Neville, director of information and community relations, at (858) 642-8163.