Hong Kong-made NANOCHIP to detect harmful substances in food in 30 seconds

BY SILVI WRITER

 

Researchers of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) have recently developed a low-cost, high precision nanochip which enables more effective and accurate detection of harmful substances in food, contributing to greater protection and improvement in public health.

It can detect hazardous substances in food in 30 seconds with Raman spectroscopy, chinanews.com reported citing Chinese-language newspaper Ta Kung Pao.

Improving the popularity of Raman spectroscopy will help secure the food safety.

Professor Wang Jianfang, an internationally renowned nanotechnology expert, and his research team applied high-quality gold or silver nanoparticles on glass sheets to make low-cost, high-precision nanochips for Raman spectroscopy.

“In virtue of our patented technology, we are able to produce the chips in a general laboratory instead of a clean room environment,” Wang said.

“The size and the shape of our high-quality nanoparticles can be precisely manipulated to maximise their ability to interact with light. So, the cost and the sensing performance of our products are highly promising compared with similar products,” he added.

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The new nanochip is half as expensive as the old chip. Moreover, the nanochip can be installed in an equipment as small as a cell phone, which makes it possible for people to carry it around.

“We are going to commercialise this technology, and expect to launch it on the market within a year,” Wang added.

The new chip can not only test hazardous substances in foods, but also test pesticides and food additives, said Wang. The test scope can be expanded to other fields, such as cocaine, heroin and even explosives.

The nanochip can effectively enhance the Raman signal of the detected objects, with an accuracy rate of 90 percent, said Ye Xingquan, a doctoral student in physics department of the CUHK.

There are no more than five labs in the world that have the ability to produce such chips.

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