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Aerosol Particle Collectors for Microsensor Platforms


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Microelectronics, Biotechnology TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors, Chem Bio Defense OBJECTIVE: Develop, demonstrate, validate, and produce aerosol particle collectors which are Size, Weight, and Power + Cost compatible with microsensor platforms and capable of being produced using advanced manufacturing techniques. DESCRIPTION: Small, low-power, low-cost, networked, and potentially attritable sensors (“microsensors”) can be rapidly dispersed over an area to enhance situational awareness and continuously monitor for threats such as toxic chemicals or pathogens. The ability to use networks of smaller and cheaper sensors instead of large and expensive systems will allow Warfighters to maintain increasingly expeditionary postures. Current systems for capturing aerosol particles in defense-relevant size ranges and delivering these particles to downstream devices for analysis are not suitable for use microsensors, due to size, power consumption, robustness, or the ability to operate without manual intervention. Recent innovations in miniaturized components such as pumps, well- or channel-based impactors, electrostatic precipitators, and impingers offer potential means by which to capture aerosols then deliver them in a solvent to a downstream process while remaining small and consuming minimal power. To realize these capabilities, additional development is required to identify specific collection components, match them with air and liquid pumps, and demonstrate the ability to efficiently collect and deliver particles in relevant size ranges. To enable successful integration with multiple types of microsensor detection and identification modules, flexible designs are favored. Desired features include but are not limited to 1) The ability to quickly modify a ‘base design’ to collect different particle sizes, 2) delivering particles in varying volumes of different solvents, 3) utilization of components designed to be produced close to the point of need using advanced manufacturing techniques, and 4) operating under the control of non-proprietary code to enable agile experimentation and integration with experimental detector and identifier modules. PHASE I: Identify components suitable to achieve aerosol collection and subsequent delivery in a liquid solvent within a minimal SWaP+C envelope. Demonstrate the function of these components in a breadboard system (it is not necessary to minimize SWaP+C at the breadboard stage, but the ability to make those components work in the tightest envelope possible is a vital criteria for later phases). Evaluate their performance working together in the breadboard system. Deliver a report on the breadboard system to include performance data, cost, size, and power consumption of the breadboard system, and an estimate of the cost, size, and power consumption of the system were it to be integrated, packaged, and optimized. Investigate potential civilian markets for the technology. PHASE II: Develop an integrated collector module based on the breadboard design: Integrate components into a small physical package (threshold: 350mL, objective: 175mL) with efficient power usage (threshold: can idle for 6 hours and perform 4 collect-dispense cycles on a battery internal to the device, objective: can idle for 24 hours and perform 24 collect-dispense cycles on a battery internal to the device), and reasonable weight (threshold: 500 grams, objective: 200 grams). Demonstrate the performance of this collector module on relevant aerosol challenges. Demonstrate integration with Army-specified detector modules. Participate in a user-engagement event with a field demonstration component. Deliver reports on these activities, prototypes, and technical data packages to include component and system models and software/firmware used on the device. Develop version(s) of the module suitable for identified civilian applications and explore commercialization. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Mature concepts and prototypes into a manufacturable or transitionable system: Refine the integrated collector module to improve performance or the ability to flexibly integrate with multiple detectors and multiple missions. Establish the use of advanced manufacturing to adapt the base design to different detectors or missions in collaboration with potential user groups. Develop documentation on the use of the technology for multiple mission types and transition the technology to DoD partners. Commercialize products based on the enabling technologies for civilian applications. REFERENCES: 1. Pan, M.; Lednicky, J. A.; Wu, C. Y., Collection, particle sizing and detection of airborne viruses. J Appl Microbiol 2019, 127 (6), 1596-1611. 2. Li, H. Y.; Liu, J. K.; Li, K.; Liu, Y. X., A review of recent studies on piezoelectric pumps and their applications. Mech Syst Signal Pr 2021, 151. 3. Lee, U. N.; van Neel, T. L.; Lim, F. Y.; Khor, J. W.; He, J. Y.; Vaddi, R. S.; Ong, A. Q. W.; Tang, A.; Berthier, J.; Meschke, J. S.; Novosselov, I. V.; Theberge, A. B.; Berthier, E., Miniaturizing Wet Scrubbers for Aerosolized Droplet Capture. Anal Chem 2021, 93 (33), 11433-11441. 4. He, J. Y.; Beck, N. K.; Kossik, A. L.; Zhang, J. W.; Seto, E.; Meschke, J. S.; Novosselov, I., Evaluation of micro-well collector for capture and analysis of aerosolized Bacillus subtilis spores. Plos One 2018, 13 (5). KEYWORDS: aerosol, particle, collector, sampler, chemical, biological, micro, miniature
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