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Optical "Nose" for Rapid, Part-Per-Trillion Trace Gas Detection

Award Information

Department of Energy
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2004 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Vescent Photonics
4865 E. 41st Ave Denver, CO 80216-
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2004
Title: Optical "Nose" for Rapid, Part-Per-Trillion Trace Gas Detection
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG02-04ER86199
Award Amount: $99,997.00


75341-Trace quantities of certain atmospheric species can have profound effects on the complex chemical processes in the troposphere. However, the detection and quantification of these species will require the development of rapid response, ultra-sensitive (part-per-trillion) chemical detection technologies. This project will construct an optically based, chemical detection system with extraordinary sensitivity (sub ppT), specificity, and versatility (with detection capabilities for essentially any gas-phase molecule). The system will utilize novel optical detection schemes that provide sub ppT absorption sensitivities; a unique atmospheric sampling technique that greatly minimizes intake losses and maximizes detection sensitivity; and fiberdized optical components that are robust, miniature, and have low power consumption. In Phase I: (1) the sophisticated electronics required for this approach will be designed and built; (2) the atmospheric sampling technique will be modeled and the Phase II device will be designed; (3) the requisite spectral information will be assembled and utilized to determine chemical detection efficacy; and (4) the basic components of the novel, ultra-sensitive optical detection system will be designed, assembled on a benchtop, and tested. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: In addition to atmospheric monitoring, the ultra-sensitive chemical detectors should have application to the detection of chemical weapons, unearthing of land-mines and unexploded ordnances (it is estimated that 110 million unexploded land mines are still buried around the world), medical breath analysis (providing surgery-free indications of disease, or a means of quantifying anesthesia intake in the operating room), and industrial monitoring of leaks in subterranean pipes or storage tanks (only trace quantities of leaked chemicals migrate to the surface for detection).

Principal Investigator:

Scott Davis

Business Contact:

Scott Rommel
Small Business Information at Submission:

Vescent Photonics
2927 Welton Street Denver, CO 80205

Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Campus Box 440
Boulder, CO 80309
Contact: Jun Ye
Contact Phone: (303) 492-7789
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university