Lab-on-a-chip Technology for in-situ Mercury Speciation Characterizarion
Many different types of metals and their chemical species are present in groundwater and soil at DOE sites. Mercury is a particular concern because it is a very toxic element that is widely spread in the atmosphere and water. Despite advances to measurement technology at laboratory level, the real time in-situ monitoring technologies for mercury and other metals are still lacking both in terms of selectivity and sensitivity. Los Gatos Research will develop a novel lab-on-a-chip technology capable of performing real time, in situ measurements of trace mercury and their chemical species with high selectivity and sensitivity. During the Phase I effort, we have established the technical feasibility of performing on-chip mercury speciation. In particular, we have successfully performed on-chip separations of mercury ions (Hg2+) and methylmercury ions (CH3Hg+) in an aqueous solution with UV laser induced fluorescence detection. In addition, we have also successfully demonstrated automated on-chip sample preparation and analysis capability. The Phase II objectives include further improving the detection sensitivity, optimizing the automated on-chip sample preparation process, as well as miniaturizing the Phase I instrumentation. By reducing the footprint and power consumption, the Phase II prototype will be compact, lightweight, and battery powered ideally suited for on-site real time monitoring and characterization of mercury species in the subsurface environments. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed technology can also be employed to monitor other metals, radionuclides, and organic molecules. In addition, the lab-on-a-chip technology possesses commercial potential in pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets, including components for DNA, protein and drug separation and analysis, blood testing and detecting chemical and biological agents, as well as pesticide and pollution monitoring.
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Los Gatos Research
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