SBIR Phase I: Nutrient analyzer with integrated optics and glass-diaphragm pump for field studies

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Translume
655 Phoenix Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will evaluate the feasibility of developing a colorimetric field-analyzer that will autonomously monitor inorganic nutrients in agricultural runoff, waste waters, rivers, and estuaries, and provide the data necessary to model nutrient distribution in the environment. The program?s long-term goal is to develop an instrument that can measure nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, and orthophosphate. This instrument will be designed for prolonged unattended field operations and will perform real-time measurements with the appropriate sensitivity limits. Its operation will be based on approved colorimetric methodologies. It will be made entirely of a material (fused silica) compatible with the associated chemistries, will require only microliters of reagent per measurement, and will integrate an optical analytical section that will never require realignment or calibration. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are evident in that the initial market is expected to be comprised of researchers working in the field of oceanography and environmental sciences. The public-at-large will benefit from this work as essential water quality parameters will be measured in a cost-effective way, and comprehensive temporal data at the scale needed to resolve important environmental variability in nutrient biogeochemistry will be collected. Nutrient concentration and the spatial and temporal change in concentration, provide perspective for assessing the biological activity of streams, lakes, estuaries, and oceanic environments. The en product resulting from this collaborative effort between a small business and a NSF-funded research center will be adopted by watershed monitoring agencies, municipalities, and regulatory bodies.