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Course spurs collaboration

Research Achievements

Course spurs collaboration

The sensor science testbed course triggered a new interdisciplinary collaboration across three research centers on campus. The students developed a sensor network to detect formaldehyde in wood products. Formaldehyde has recently come to the attention of FEMA (high levels were detected in trailers put up to house Hurricane Katrina victims) and NIH (role in cancer and other respiratory diseases). The students researched formaldehyde sensors and discovered few that meet routine monitoring settings with the necessary sensitivity and selectivity. They worked with the Advanced Wood Composites Center(AEWC) in testing current commercial sensors to monitor formaldehyde levels during composite materials manufacturing as a first step to generating a new sensor design. The collaboration involves Laboratory for Surface Science (LASST) researchers in developing the new sensor, and the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis ( NCGIA) in software and spatial analysis development.