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Isotope Hygrometer for in situ Subsurface Characterization

Award Information

Department of Energy
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
33 a
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Vista Photonics, Inc.
67 Condesa Rd. Santa Fe, NM 87508-8136
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Isotope Hygrometer for in situ Subsurface Characterization
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG02-10ER85845
Award Amount: $100,000.00


Isotope hydrology is a powerful method to trace transport and dispersion of contaminants in the subsurface. Although widely applied, the method depends on sample analysis in specialized laboratories equipped with expensive and complex analysis tools. Small, rugged analyzers suitable for on-site monitoring will significantly boost applications of this unique analysis technique. A cost effective, optical isotope hygrometer for measuring d18O, d17O and dD in water samples is proposed. Targeted measurement precision is below 1 per mil. The sensor will operate in real time and will need no sample preparation. Emerging infrared laser diodes will be combined with wavelength modulation spectroscopy to measure the isotope sample composition. A shoebox sized device is targeted that will allow rugged fieldable instrumentation at targeted retail pricing of $15K. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Isotope hygrometers are increasingly applied to contaminant hydrogeology. They are valuable tools in understanding surface water movement and interaction with groundwater. They are utilized for mapping aquifers and conserving water supplies. Water is of enormous environmental importance and the proposed compact sensor technology can find application in food product authenticity, paleoclimatology, atmospheric chemistry, and biomedicine

Principal Investigator:

Joerg Kutzner

Business Contact:

Jeffrey Pilgrim
Small Business Information at Submission:

Vista Photonics, Inc.
67 Condesa Road Santa Fe, NM 87508

EIN/Tax ID: 200051259
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No