Matrix Sensors for Hazardous Gas Monitoring

Period of Performance: 03/30/2000 - 12/17/2001

$120K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Implant Sciences Corp.
107 Audubon Road #5
Wakefield, MA 01880
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

Over half a million military and civilian personnel are annually, in the course of performing their duties, exposed to toxic combustion and pyrolysis byproducts. Greatly reducing the impact of such exposures, or avoiding them altogether, is the purpose of a fast, rugged, "early warning" system Implant Sciences proposes to develop. This "sensor-on-a-chip" employs a matrix of tiny catalyzed-semiconducting-oxide elements for simultaneous, nearly instant identification and quantification of the constituent gases present in an airborne mixture. The sensor takes advantage of gas composition - and concentration - dependent surface conductivity changes in oxide films carried on submicron-thick bridges to create a very fast instrument capable of analyzing for a wide range of gases and combustion products with parts-per-billion sensitivity. Because the heart of the instrument, the sensor chip, is fabricated using high-volume microelectronics technology, both its cost and the cost of the finished instrument will be low. The project's ultimate objective is a device sufficiently compact and inexpensive to serve as a personal combustion monitor carried in a pocket or on a belt, from which location it measures toxic gas concentration, sounds an alarm if hazardous levels are exceeded, logs data, and upon interrogation transfers these data to medical personnel for analysis and interpretation. BENEFITS: The principal of catalyzed-oxide chemical sensing is readily extended beyond its potential as a personal combustion-product monitor for combatants, firefighters, miners, and oil-field workers to household and automotive applications such as inexpensive, reliable, CO, CO2, NOx, and hydrocarbon measuring instruments.