SBIR Phase I: Design and cost effective manufacturing of miniature gas chromatograph sensors
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project concerns the design and high-throughput and low-cost manufacturing of metal-based miniature gas chromatograph (mGC) sensor structures. The proposed mGC sensor design and manufacturing is unique and offers competitive advantages as compared to current "micro GC" devices/systems on the market. Miniaturized GC Sensors are envisioned to become the building blocks for future GC instruments, in which each mGC module can perform a separate analytical function. Analytical instruments containing multiple mGCs can be tailored to provide analyses of compounds with widely different chemical characteristics. Such instruments may become "niche analyzers" for field analytical use not possible with current capabilities. Design and efficient fabrication of high-reliability, low-cost, metal-based, mGC sensors are critical for establishing the technical and commercial feasibility of such devices. The project team combines extensive expertise on GC design, testing, and applications as well as microfabrication of metal-based high-aspect-ratio microscale structures (HARMS). Fabrication of metallic HARMS by molding replication, combined with efficient microscale bonding, promises low-cost, high-throughput, mGC device production with high reliability. The proposed methodology offers competitive advantages compared to silicon-based integrated-circuit processing techniques and represents a good opportunity for pushing metal-based mGC sensors to commercially-viable products. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is multifaceted and significant. Miniature GC sensor modules can be a device that promotes efficiency and improvements throughout industry and society. For example, better monitoring improves the quality of chemical products. On-site monitoring and processing of multi-point compositional information improves chemical plant efficiencies and the control of process upsets. Early detection of emissions from leaks prevents pollution, and helps industry meet clean air compliance requirements. Effective monitoring assures water quality and alleviates public health concerns. The availability of mGC sensors will eliminate many field sampling activities connected to laboratory analysis. Real-time monitoring lowers compliance cost of environmental regulations and fines, and accelerates the permit process. Increased security at airports and public facilities lessens public apprehension and reduce time delays. Detection of disease earlier and more cheaply improves health care. As such, significant market interest exists for the proposed technology. The proposed mGC sensors may enable many new and yet unrealized applications. This is where the mGC sensor modules will have it greatest potential for market expansion. By focusing on such market expansion opportunities, the presently proposed project combines technical innovation with commercial promise.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Enervana Technologies LLC
LSU South Campus 8000 GSRI Ave., Bldg. 3000 Baton Rouge, LA 70820-7400
Number of Employees: