Dr. George M. Murray


Adjunct Research Professor, MABE
University of Tennessee Space Institute
PhD, University of Tennessee



Professor George Milton Murray is an Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. He came to UTSI in 2007 from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He specializes in chemical analysis, sensors and molecularly imprinted polymers. One of Professor Murray’s areas of expertise is the preparation of luminescent sensors for toxic compounds. The techniques of molecular imprinting and sensitized lanthanide luminescence have been combined to create the basis for a sensor that can selectively measure a specific organophosphorous compound. A complex of polymerizable sensitizing ligand europium [III) and an organophosphorous compound are copolymerized in a cross-linked polymer matrix. The best coordinators are trifluoromethyl-substituted b-diketones. The best polymerization mechanism is by Reversible Addition Fragmentation Transfer polymerization. This approach is allowing the production of soluble processable imprinted materials. Analogous methodologies are currently being applied to the production of sensors for the detection and determination of toxins, drugs of abuse, explosives and meat spoilage. Toxins are measured using piezo-electric transducers. Drugs are measured in an analogous manner to the nerve agents while explosives are being detected by the production of charge-transfer complexes between the explosives molecules, (acceptor) and immobilized amines (donor). Meat spoilage sensing is obtained using luminescence from a transition metal macrocyclic complex. All of the materials are also capable of providing highly selective binding sites to other transducers such as quartz crystal microbalance and surface plasmon resonance sensors.

Dr. Murray has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals as well as articles in the popular science press. He holds twenty U.S. patents and was named as one of the twenty Master Inventors of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Dr. Murray’s research interests are centered on developing methods for the sequestration and ultra-trace determination of toxic or useful substances in real samples. The means to this goal involves the production of molecularly Imprinted materials for sequestration and as specific polymer sensors. Laser spectroscopy is used for sensor transduction and verification. Laser processing is used to obtain specific form factors. Materials are also prepared for direct electronic or electrochemical transduction using electro-active polymers with imprinted polymer receptors.