SBIR Phase II:Quantitative Analysis for Trace Levels of Toxic Elements in Consumer Products Using High Definition X-ray Fluorescence

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1026559
Agency Tracking Number: 0839615
Amount: $499,998.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: NSF 08-548
Small Business Information
DUNS: 780681938
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Zewu Chen
 (518) 880-1500
Business Contact
 Zewu Chen
Phone: (518) 880-1500
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will demonstrate rapid, nondestructive, quantitative analysis of trace-level toxic elements in both substrates and coated layers for consumer products in a device fit for purpose on a factory floor. Restrictions such as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) are expanding world wide beyond lead to include additional harmful elements at trace levels. The analyzer will provide manufacturers the means to conveniently test their products, raw materials, and components for compliance with the new standards. Currently, there is no practical method to accurately test outside of a lab. The objective is to construct an analyzer for quantifying ten toxic elements at or below regulated levels. The analyzer will use XOS's world-leading x-ray optics to produce multiple monochromatic beams from a single x-ray tube, providing excellent sensitivity, lower limits of detection, and short measurement times for the entire relevant part of the periodic table. It will include advanced software for processing the combined data sets and separating the results for the coatings and substrates. The low-power consumption, reduced maintenance, and compact design are fit for purpose in manufacturing, distribution, or regulatory environments. The broader impact of this research is the mitigation of inadvertent exposure risk. Toys and other consumer products will be safer as adults and children are protected from toxic elements. American manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and regulators are facing increasing global regulations restricting hazardous substances in manufactured products with associated costs and liability risks. This new testing capability would reduce testing costs by more than 75%, currently more than $1B, compared to existing laboratory-based methods. It would also assist U.S. manufacturers and distributors in cost-effective compliance by testing before the products leave the plant or distribution center, thereby, gaining or preserving their competitive position and avoiding the loss of sales and jobs due to offshore migration of manufacturing. This analyzer will also enable manufactures to safely explore new materials as a substitute for restricted materials. Consumer fears provide U.S. manufacturers an opportunity to increase market share if they can demonstrate safety. Additionally, the societal benefits for consumers are significant. Consumers can be certain the products they buy are safe. The ability to accurately detect toxic elements will help to reduce their proliferation into the marketplace and improve public health. This enables improved quality of life and a reduced health care burden.

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

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