A Miniaturized Sensor for Microbial Monitoring of Spacecraft Water Environment

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX10CE27P
Agency Tracking Number: 094565
Amount: $99,931.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: X2.03
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
215 Wynn Drive, 5th Floor, Huntsville, AL, 35805-1944
DUNS: 185169620
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Yi Wang
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 726-4858
Business Contact
 Silvia Harvey
Title: Document Specialist
Phone: (256) 726-4858
Email: sxh@cfdrc.com
Research Institution
Accurate real-time microbial monitoring of water environment is of paramount importance to crew health as well as to ensure proper functioning and control of the life support system during space exploration. The existing methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive, and the devices used are bulky, consumable-hungry, and ill-suited for spacecraft deployment. We propose to develop and demonstrate a novel, fully automated, microfluidics-based sensor for detection and identification of microbes in water. The final product will be compact, accurate, fully integrated and automated, power-effective, and fieldable in research and space environments. The program objectives will be accomplished via several innovations: (a) a milli-fluidic microbe preconcentrator to improve detection sensitivity; (b) CFDRC's proprietary dielectrophoresis technology will be adapted to develop a dielectrophoretic focuser for differentiation and separation of target microbes from complex sample matrices; and (c) microfluidic impedance spectroscopy-based cytometry to enable label-free detection and near reagent-free operation. In Phase I, we will demonstrate all critical components to establish proof-of-concept of the proposed technology. Phase II efforts will focus along two lines. First, component design optimization will be carried out with fabrication enhancements and extended testing and characterization for technology validation. Second, an integrated microfluidic cartridge and instrumentation capable of automated operation (sample processing and detection) will be developed. The prototype instrument will be demonstrated in both terrestrial and hypogravity environments (in collaboration with NASA researchers/facilities).

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

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