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RAP opportunity at Air Force Science and Technology Fellowship Program     AF STFP

Wearable Chemical and Biochemical Sensors and Devices


711th Human Performance Wing, RHB/Medical and Operational Biosciences Group

opportunity location
13.15.15.B8430 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433


name email phone
Steve S Kim 937.938.3797


The degree of exposure to the volatile organic compounds, gases, and airborne particles for a human subject can significantly vary from others due to his/her differences in work, recreational, and residential settings. Molecular biomarkers indicative of human physiological and psychological status vary person-to-person and the measurement point of the time. Developing personal chemical and biochemical sensors that enable the profiling/reporting of exposure data throughout 8-24 hour time frame of individual operators will greatly benefit USAF personnel health and performance. Commercial sensors are (1) bulky, (2) suffer from sensor drift, (3) chemically unstable, (4) required to integrate optical/electrical components (cost/size), (5) lack multiple gas detection on a single sensing platform, and (6) lagging response time. Thus zero footprint, noiseless, and low-powered sensing platform without the need for calibration and drift correction is highly desirable in developing a wearable or attachable personal sensor suite. Miniaturizing device size and increasing sensitivity and selectivity of chemical/biochemical sensors are key elements in building such sensor suites. The merit of nanomaterials lies on the fact that they exhibit large surface area, where sensing motifs can be linked to enhance the detection signals for high sensitivity. In addition, their 1/2/3 dimensional quantum confinement effects, as compared to bulk crystalline or metallic materials, can provide distinctive electrical/optical properties, which further translate into acquisition signals in nanodevices for the sensor system. On the other hand, as the Nature does, biomaterials based on nucleic acids and amino acids can be explicitly designed to have high affinity to virtually any given specific targets or materials. In this research, the structural interactions and functionalities of nano device platform and biomolecule hybrids are systematically probed by using both experiments and computations. The hybrid system is further explored for its capability as sensors and devices for the targets of interest. The sample collection, delivery, signal processing, and device-to-device communication for the miniaturized sensors and devices are to be explored collaboratively with both internal and external partners.



Kim S, et al: Biotic-Abiotic Interactions: Factors that Influence Peptide-Graphene Interactions. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2015, Published on-line 08/15/2015

Kim S, et al: The Effect of Single Wall Carbon Nanotube Metallicity on Genomic DNA-Mediated Chirality Enrichment. Nanoscale 5: 4931, 2013

Kim S, et al: “Preferential Binding of Peptides to Graphene Edges and Planes”. Journal of the American Chemical Society 133(37): 14480-14483, 2011


key words
Sensor; Chemical sensor; Biosensor; VOC; Biomimetic; Human performance; Biomarker;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$95,000.00 $5,000.00

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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