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Inexpensive Colorimetric Sensor for Formaldehyde

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: EPD17030
Agency Tracking Number: B161A-0005
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 16-NCER-1A
Solicitation Number: SOL-NC-16-00038
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-09-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-03-13
Small Business Information
855 W. Maude Avenue
Mountain View, CA 94043-4021
United States
DUNS: 827877486
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Autumn Maruniak
 Senior Chemist
 (650) 938-6200
Business Contact
 Ray Martino
Title: COO
Phone: (650) 938-6200
Research Institution

This Phase I proposal describes the development an inexpensive, portable optical sensor to monitor indoor formaldehyde levels. The proposed instrument will be capable of detecting 0.05-5 ppm levels of formaldehyde in the presence of common interferents. Formaldehyde is used in manufacturing and is present in many building materials. There are significant health risks associated with even low levels of outgassed formaldehyde, including eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. It is also classified as a probable human carcinogen at high or prolonged exposure. Commercially available real-time formaldehyde sensors work well in environments contaminated only with formaldehyde, but are plagued by lack of accuracy and drift-prone readings in environments with interfering elements such as water vapor and polar VOCs. iSense, LLC has developed a novel sensor technology based on array of colorimetric indicators that can detect various toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) across multiple chemical moieties below their permissible exposure limit. The technology is rapid, inexpensive and capable of distinguishing between TICS as well as complex mixtures of compounds. We propose to test, improve and optimize this technology toward the detection and identification of formaldehyde. If successful, iSense technology will provide a means to alert users to unsafe levels of formaldehyde in their environment.

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

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