As Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has shown, chemical weapons are no longer on the forbidden fringe of warfare.
“Let’s be clear: Assad’s most recent use of poison gas against the people of Douma was not his first, second, third, or even 49th use of chemical weapons,” Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on April 13. “The United States estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times. Public estimates are as high as 200.”
That evolution has breathed new urgency into U.S. military efforts to more effectively detect the use of chemical and other non-conventional arms. One project underway at the Navy Research Lab stands at the forefront of that effort.
Researchers in the Material Science and Technology Division are developing atomically-thin semiconductors to serve as sensors in emerging detection systems. The team published a 2017 paper in Scientific Reports and has two patent applications pending.
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