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Compact Sensor for Isotope and Trace Gas Analysis

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX15CP20C
Agency Tracking Number: 140065
Amount: $899,157.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T8.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-05-29
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-10-27
Small Business Information
19805 Hamilton Avenue
Torrance, CA 90502-1341
United States
DUNS: 625511050
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jason Kriesel
 Lead Scientist
 (310) 756-0520
Business Contact
 Nahum Gat
Title: Business Official
Phone: (310) 756-0520
Research Institution
 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
 Jim Moran
902 Battelle Blvd., 902 Battelle Blvd.
Richland, WA 99352-0999
United States

 (509) 371-6798
 Federally Funded R&D Center (FFRDC)

We propose to develop and demonstrate a new sensor platform for isotope and trace-gas analysis that is appropriate for future planetary missions. Among other applications, the technology can enable the collection of isotope ratio data in support of the search for evidence of life within the solar system. Current limitations to in-situ isotope measurements will be overcome by utilizing a capillary absorption spectrometer (CAS). This concept enables high precision measurements within the ultra-small volume (~ 0.1 ml) of a hollow fiber optic capillary and has proven to be three orders of magnitude more sensitive than competing sensors. The proposed effort focuses on transitioning the current lab-based technique to a small size, weight, and power (SWaP) device that can be operated unattended. In Phase I, proposed concepts for improving the system performance, reducing the SWaP, and engineering a field-capable device were proven and specific options down selected. Under Phase II, we will fully develop a general prototype sensor platform, which is applicable to a wide range of isotope ratio and trace-gas analysis applications. Specific examples of the utility and versatility of the concept will be demonstrated by using the system as a stand-alone gas sensor, as well as in combination with both a laser ablation sampler and a gas chromatograph. In addition, a dual laser system will be developed to measure both Carbon (C) and Sulfur (S) isotope ratios. The sensitivity afforded by the proposed system would open up remote analysis of smaller samples than ever before measured, which could be a significant development in the search for biosignatures on other planets and near space objects, as well as in the early Earth rock record.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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