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StFX – Dr. Risk Collaborating On $350,000 Project Funded By Carbon Management Canada (Cmc-Nce)

A StFX researcher is part of a collaborative project that has received $350,000 in funding from Carbon Management Canada Inc. (CMC-NCE) for a three year project to develop single-molecule level multi-species nanowire-based sensors for carbon emissions.

Dr. Dave Risk, who leads the Flux Lab, one of the research facilities in StFX’s Department of Earth Sciences, will conduct the research in collaboration with Dr. Harry Ruda, at the Center for Nanotechnology, at the University of Toronto.

“This project is very exciting for its potential impact,” Dr. Risk says.

“In this day and age greenhouse gas sensing is critical but current sensors are either power hogs, low resolution, or expensive.  For a few years I’ve been aware of the potential for nanowire sensors to at once overcome all these limitations but personally lacked the expertise to develop them. Our collaborator possesses nanotechnology expertise and we have experience with measurement, instruments, and the intended uses; it’s a great match.”

Dr. Risk says they intend to develop small, inexpensive, robust, high sensitivity nanowire transistors as greenhouse gas sensors that have a range of carbon-based applications for large-scale measurements.

“Our job here at StFX is to make sure the sensors are developed with real world applications in mind, and tested rigorously both in the lab and outdoors.  In the end, we hope to end up with a miniature circuit-board sensor that rivals the performance of devices that cost tens of thousands of dollars. It would open up so many measurement possibilities.”

The research will benefit the global community, he says, by creating new technology for collecting environmental data and further knowledge of global climate change.

CMC-NCE is a nation-wide, university-led, multidisciplinary research network formed for the purpose of developing the insights, technologies, and highly qualified people necessary to reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions in Canada.