A Miniaturized SERS Based Sensor Technology for detecting toxic contaminants in oxygen from aircraft On-Board Oxygen Generating Systems (OBOGS)

Period of Performance: 11/02/2012 - 04/30/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sporian Microsystems, Inc.
515 Courtney Way Suite B
Lafayette, CO 80026
Principal Investigator


Aircraft equipped with On-Board Oxygen Generating Systems (OBOGS) selectively filter nitrogen and other gaseous contaminants in air from the aircraft's engine to provide the aircrew with an oxygen enriched breathing gas. Under suboptimal operating conditions, toxic byproducts can breach the OBOGS and enter the aircrew's oxygen supply. Current contaminant sensor technologies tend to lack the response time, reliability, specificity, and robustness needed for military aircraft. Thus, there is a need for a compact, highly reliable/specific sensor for multiple toxic contaminants to monitor oxygen produced by aircraft OBOGS. Ideally, such sensors would be: detect (as a minimum) CO, CO2, NOx, and aliphatic/aromatic hydrocarbons; compact and lightweight; not drift over time; and include a visual alarm indicator, and an electronic output signal that can interface with an aircraft's caution and warning system. The objective of the proposed work is to develop such a sensing module, based on the combination of a miniaturized surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy concept and existing low-power wireless sensor network hardware. This Phase I effort will include: working with OEMs to define requirements; analyses; evaluation of the sensing module hardware/packaging design concepts; and construction and proof of principle demonstration of first generation hardware.