Novel Hydrogen Sulfide Sensors for Portable Monitors

Period of Performance: 09/16/2003 - 09/15/2004


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Synkera Technologies Inc.
2605 Trade Centre Ave, Suite C
Longmont, CO 80503
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Nanomaterials Research's primary objective for this SBIR project is the design, development, and demonstration of a better sensor technology for the detection of hydrogen sulfide Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable gas that is highly toxic It reacts with the enzymes in the blood that inhibit cell respiration At high concentrations, it can literally shut off the lungs, while lower levels can burn the respiratory tract and cause eye irritation This gas is encountered in a wide range of industries, and a number of standards have been established for occupational exposure The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) is 10 ppm, the Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) is 15 ppm, and exposures of 300 ppm or greater are considered immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) Because of the potential for adverse health effects at low concentrations, the industrial hygiene community is continually seeking improved performance from hydrogen sulfide sensors Specific requirements include reliable and accurate detection in real time, quantitative measurement capabilities, low purchase and life cycle costs, and low power consumption (for portability) Sensors meeting these requirements will find numerous applications within the health and safety field In addition, there are several potential spin-off opportunities in leak detection, emission monitoring, and process control Nanomaterials' approach is to utilize alternative ceramic oxide materials, and a unique multilayer fabrication process to accomplish the objectives of this project The work plan includes optimization of the sensor materials, sensor element fabrication, sensor element packaging, in-house and external evaluation of the sensors, and establishing the foundation for new instrument development The ultimate aim is a low-cost, low-power sensor that can be used in a new type of personal monitor The envisioned monitor is a low profile, credit card sized "smart-card" that can not only alert the wearer when unsafe concentrations have been encountered but also to track cumulative individual worker exposure to a particular toxic gas species.