NANOTECHNOLOGY MOLECULAR TAGGING
Ancon’s NMT is a means of detecting trace chemicals. It is not a single technology, but a combination of highly innovative scientific and technological discoveries based on a conceptually novel means of measuring electric current by counting elemental units of charge.
NMT has demonstrated sensitivities of 1 part in 10¹⁸ – a million times beyond limits of alternative technologies.
Ancon has ground-breaking innovations in:
- chemical detection down to a single molecule;
- filtering target species from complex chemical backgrounds;
- nano-object tag generation ensuring high performance;
- development of a collision chamber reducing detection times to 10⁻³ seconds;
- design of a unique zero noise nano-tag laser counter.
These innovations ensure a number of unique and extremely valuable measurement characteristics which underpin the unprecedentedly large number of high value applications for NMT.
NMT ion selection and detection pathway can be described as follows:
- The chemicals within a sample are ionised.
- The specific target molecule ions are selected by passing them through an electric field selector module operating at atmospheric temperature.
- The selected molecule ions are “tagged” with specially generated nano-objects.
- Each tagged molecule/ion is then detected and individually counted with an optical particle counter.
Each count represents an individual molecule and gives a direct measure of concentration. This is the basis of NMT’s exceptional sensitivity. Current state of the art technologies commonly used in explosives detection and breath analysis, such as ion-mobility spectrometry (IMS) and gas chromatography, have a typical detection threshold of 10,000 ions per second. We offer enhanced sensitivity detection down to 1 ion per second.
NMT not only offers a step improvement in techniques of detection but it can be used to count individual (tagged) ions. This means it gives a direct measure of the number of molecules present and hence an absolute value for concentration. Other techniques measure concentration indirectly by measuring electric current or colour change. These techniques have therefore to be calibrated against some standard.
An important feature of NMT is its exceptionally low background noise. This enhances the signal to noise ratio, giving advantages against techniques such as Faraday cup detectors used in IMS; where thermal electrical noise is a limiting factor.