Soil and Subsurface Contaminant Sensor System Based on Self-Sensed Microcantilever Arrays

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-05ER84291
Agency Tracking Number: 78644S05-I
Amount: $99,949.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: 06 b
Solicitation Number: DE-FG01-04ER04-33
Small Business Information
695 Sierra Rose Drive, Reno, NV, 89511
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ralph Whitten
 (530) 368-2870
Business Contact
 Ralph Whitten
Title: Mr.
Phone: (530) 368-2870
Research Institution
78644S The widespread use of mercury (Hg) in products, along with the equally widespread release of mercury to the environment as a result of manufacturing operations, presents a serious health risk. Mercury contamination is also a significant issue at several government sites, ranging from trace contamination to extremely high contamination of soils and sediments. There is therefore a great need for low-cost, compact sensors for sensitive and selective Hg detection. In this project, compact, low-cost, low-power arrays of microcantilevers will be integrated into small sensor packages. The sensors will be highly sensitive and selective to mercury vapor and will be integrated into cone penetrometers for soil and subsurface mercury detection. In Phase I, a small array of piezoelectric self-sensing microcantilevers will be field tested to selectively detect mercury vapor in soil. Phase II will integrate an optimized cantilever array design into a cone penetrometer as a single, field-testable system. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Low-cost mercury sensors and alarms, designed to perform like today¿s fire alarms or carbon monoxide alarms, should find widespread use by government agencies, corporations with manufacturing operations that involve or release mercury, health and safety personnel such as hazmat teams, police and fire personnel, and corporate and academic safety officers. In addition, the sensor system should be adaptable to sensing other chemicals or chemical mixtures.

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

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