NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Science Instruments for Conducting Solar System Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE:Fast GC for Space Applications Based on PIES Technology

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, 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
7 Tenney Road
West Orange, NJ  07052 -1315
(973) 731 - 6281

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This SBIR Phase II project is aimed at the development of an analytical instrument which combines the advantages of fast gas chromatography (GC) and a detector that is capable of sample identification independently from GC retention time. Experiments in the limited-space environment require from a GC system maximum productivity and universality with minimal resource consumption. A combination of a miniature short-column chromatograph with a detector capable of identifying unknown species would be an ideal instrument for flight analysis. A low-resource and power consumption micro-sized GC detector that is proposed for development in Phase II of this project is based on a technology of Penning Ionization Electron Spectroscopy in plasma (PIES). Adding another analytical dimension to the amperometric method that has earlier been employed in the metastable ionization detector (MID), PIES technology relies on the measurement of the energy of electrons liberated by Penning ionization in collisions between analyte molecules and helium metastable atoms in the afterglow of a gas discharge. Since the energy of Penning electrons is specific to the species, the resultant data can be used to identify gas components. No optics or high vacuum is required, and the spectra in this technique are recorded by using a collector electrode placed into a glow discharge cell. In the Phase I of the project, the technology has been expanded to flowing plasmas with linear gas velocities of up to 9.3 m/s where PIES spectra were recorded in ~1.5 s. Phase II of the project is focused on further increasing the data acquisition rates, realization of PIES detector in a compact design, development of advanced measurement electronics, and testing the prototype detector with a commercial high-speed gas chromatograph.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A GC-PIES analytical device is intended for use in exobiology experiments onboard spacecraft or space probes where the detection and identification of a wide range of chemical species, over vast concentration ranges is often a primary requirement. Further advance of PIES technology to on-chip packaging would lead to the development of a MEMS GC-PIES micro-device capable of in sutu multi-species analysis with identification of unknown species. Such a micro-total-analysis-system (mu-TAS) would be is especially suited for carrying out gas analysis under severely limited conditions of planetary missions. Another potential NASA application of the instrument is monitoring environment onboard a spacecraft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Miniature and portable analytical devices which would provide real-time identification of various gases are required in the majority of the GC detection fields. Such technologies are needed in industrial, forensic, military, security, science, environmental, educational and other areas. Some specific applications include: air quality monitoring, manufacturing process control, emission control, hazardous waste treatment, airport security, weapons drug, alcohol, and other contraband detection; landmine detection; individual/consumer applications including but not limited to house and vehicle monitoring systems and many others.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52