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A dim view of biologic and chemical agents

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3:08pm, February 27, 2006

A new type of sensor that uses tiny optical lenses may someday detect the first signs of disease or chemical contamination in blood or other liquids.

Each microscopic lens, less than half the diameter of a red blood cell, undergoes a change in optical properties when it encounters even a small amount of specific biomolecules or chemical compounds.

Chemist L. Andrew Lyon of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and his colleagues made the lenses from spheres of hydrogel, a water-absorbent mesh of polymer molecules. By chemical means, the scientists wove into the outer layers of the mesh molecular complexes designed

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