NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL TITLE:Miniature Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer for Space and Extraterrestrial Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Opti-MS Corporation
102 White Drive
Starkville ,MS 39759 - 2635
(662) 425 - 2512

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David   Ermer
102 White Drive
Starkville, MS  39759 -2635
(662) 425 - 2512

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The PI has developed a miniature time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOF-MS), which can be op-timized for space and extraterrestrial applications, by using a revolutionary ion-focusing scheme. The instrument is optimized for a matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization ion source. The design is compact and the device that will be built under a Phase II grant will have a mass of less than 1 kg, a volume of less than one liter and draw approximately 3.5 Watts, exclusive of vac-uum generation, laser and sample-handling equipment. The proposed device will include a sam-ple-handling component, which will slightly increase the mass, volume and power requirements. Although there are several miniature TOF-MS systems currently available (NASA has a design available for licensing) the proposed innovation will out-perform all of the miniature designs currently available by 1 to 2 orders of magnitude (resolution and sensitivity) and has mass resolution comparable to current full-size research instruments. For commercial applications where volume, mass and power requirements are not so stringent, a device that performs better than current full-sized instruments can be designed.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA has identified a need for a miniature, high-resolution, high-sensitivity (femtomolar) tech-nique to identify biologically important molecules for astrobiology applications such as missions to Mars and Europa and for conducting molecular biology experiments on the international space station. Laser-based TOF-MS is a powerful technique for the detection and identification of a wide range of atoms and molecules. For biological molecules, MALDI TOF-MS can detect DNA/RNA fragments, whole proteins and peptides and digested protein fragments. In addition to biological applications, laser-based TOF-MS can analyze a variety of analytes from numerous matrices including isotopic and elemental analysis. Our design can meet the requirements for mass range and sensitivity as well as requirements for volume, mass and power. Having demon-strated that this technology works; solutions to the few technical/engineering problems identified during this work, as well and integrating a sample introduction/translation system etc. can be ad-dressed in a Phase II grant. A final device developed under a Phase III grant would include a complete stand alone TOF-MS system, including sample introduction, vacuum generation, data acquisition, and laser ionization systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The market for MALDI TOF-MS equipment for proteomics research has been estimated to be $258M in 2004. Our MS technology can also be adapted to trap-based time-of-flight mass spectrometers with either an electro-spray or MALDI ion source. The total market for trap-based TOF-MS instruments was estimated to be $189M in 2004. The miniature, high-performance and relatively low-cost TOF-MS described in this proposal has tremendous commercial opportunities. The main applications for miniature TOF-MS is for the screening of infectious disease and biological agents. We also believe that the superior performance of our design will allow penetration into the general TOF-MS market.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52