building security, defense, homeland security, nanosensors, sensors, detection, terrorism, building
Despite increased vigilance and annual federal anti-terrorism spending in excess of $55 billion, building security remains a major concern for most Americans. For those working in large governmental or institutional buildings, fears are particularly acute. What more can be done to protect building occupants from the threat of terrorist attack? What potentially effective strategies, tactics or technologies remain untried? One answer may be nanotechnology. Nanotechnology promises to heighten building security and homeland security through the introduction of stronger materials and more powerful sensors. Already, a biosensor called the nanodog can sense explosives in the part-per-trillion range, nanofoil is revolutionizing the strength-to-weight ratio of protective metals, and bomb-proof glass from transparent carbon nanotubes is in development. With the volume of nanoproducts expected to increase 100-fold in the next ten years, the range and capabilities of available nanomaterials for improving building security should be impressive. But will we be able to take advantage of this boom in protective materials and products? Only if we familiarize ourselves with their capabilities, procurement, and installation. This presentation aims to introduce the surprising world of nano-enabled building security, introduce materials and products already available and in development, and encourage their adoption for improved security. Topics include material strengthening, nanosensors, nanotechnology for hazard detection, and nanotechnology for building protection.