Microliter-Sized, Metastable-Helium Ionization Detector with Novel Electrodes
Small Business Information
2155 Indian Road, West Palm Beach, FL, 33409
Martin J. Cohen
AbstractFor flight experiments in low earth orbits and planetary missions, an innovative electrode structure is proposed to obtain a metastable helium ionization detector of active volume down to a fraction of a microliter for use with microbore and microchannel gas chromatographs. Such a small detector volume is achieved by the special electrode structure and gas flow pattern. In Phase I, the detector structure and function will be optimized with the use of a test fixture which examines the metastable helium ionization performance with a coupled mass spectrometer for mass identification. A new generation of micro-sized gas chromatograph columns requires a micro-volume detector for the measurement of organic chemicals, oxygen and water, down to parts-per-billion. A theoretical model for understanding the detector's operation can be based in part on the research results already achieved by PCP, inc. under Contracts NAS2-12997 and NAS2-13276, entitled Ion Mobility Sensing of Extraterrestrial Volatiles from a Gas Chromatograph. For NASA, the further reduction in detector size leads to a reduction in utilities (gas) requirements and weight in space flight instrumentation.
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