NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 S4.01-9928
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Science Instruments for Conducting Solar System Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE: Fast GC for space applications based on PIES technology

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
LENTERRA INC.
7 Tenney Road
West Orange, NJ 07052-1315
(973)731-6281

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael Kozhevnikov
michael@lenterra.com
7 Tenney Road
West Orange, NJ 07052-1315
(973)731-6281

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Development of a novel analytical instrument which combines the advantages of fast GC and a detector capable of identifying species is proposed. Experiments in the limited-space environment require from a GC system maximum productivity and universality with minimal resource consumption. A combination of a short-column fast-chromatographic separation technique with a low-power-consumption miniature detector capable of identifying unknown species would be an ideal instrument for flight analysis. The proposed instrument will employ the technology of Penning Ionization Electron Spectroscopy in plasma (PIES) which provides an excellent opportunity for the development of a fast-GC/PIES combination that satisfies these requirements. A new micro-PIES detector is proposed that uses continuous flowing afterglow discharge cell design enabling the measurement of PIES spectra in continuous flow at atmospheric pressure of the carrier gas. PIES spectra for permanent gases will be recorded in Phase I by a micro-PIES detector prototype. In Phase II of the project, a commercially viable micro-PIES detector and an analytical device combining fast GC and the micro-PIES detector, will be developed.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The project will result in an compact and versatile analytical instrument which will enhance scientific investigations on future planetary missions. The fast-GC/micro-PIES device is best suited for in-situ analyses required for NASA's solar system exploration missions. The instrument deployed either on orbital spacecraft, or for in-situ measurements, on surface landers and rovers, will be able to characterize the atmosphere and gases of planets and satellites. Another potential application of the instrument is gas analysis on-board of the spacecraft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Portable analytical devices which would provide fast and sensitive identification of analytes are required in the majority of the GC detection fields. The advantages of the proposed technology are in the optimal combination of the small size and weight, simplicity and ruggedness of the design, and the ability to identify unknown species. Such technologies are required for various industrial, forensic, military, security, research, environmental and educational needs. Some specific applications include microelectronics; airport security; weapons drug, alcohol, and other contraband detection; landmine detection; individual/consumer applications and hazardous waste treatment, among others.