SBIR Phase II: Towards Precision Ultra-Portable 13C/12C CO2 Atmospheric Isotopic Ratio Monitors Using Quantum Cascade Laser Spectroscopy

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1230427
Agency Tracking Number: 1230427
Amount: $499,968.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Laser Sensing Co.
10 Schalks Crossing Rd. Ste 501-104, Plainsboro, NJ, 08536-1612
DUNS: 962698614
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Stephen So
 (609) 848-8267
Business Contact
 Stephen So
Phone: (609) 848-8267
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop a robust, ultra-portable CO2 isotope ratio sensor. Typically, portable sensors cannot provide good sensitivity and accuracy. Sensors which do provide adequate sensitivity and accuracy are bulky, power hungry, high maintenance, and require a controlled operational environment. This is especially true for existing CO2 13/12C isotope ratio sensors, which require hundreds of watts of power. Portable 13/12C sensors are critical to enable new applications including remote sensor network CO2 sequestration monitoring, environmental carbon cycle measurements, and medical breath analysis. Novel technology using quantum cascade lasers and the latest compact optical cells can provide a compact, power efficient, sensitive, and accurate sensor platform for gas sensing. The research objectives for this project aim to break the tradeoff between power consumption, sensitivity, complexity, and size. This project targets the development of a robust, field-deployable, outdoor sensor, and verifies its performance against existing methods of measuring CO2 isotope ratio. The realization of the final product will deliver a portable 13/12C isotope ratio laser spectrometer that operates in harsh environments using less than 15 Watts of power. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project deals with enhancing environmental monitoring by: 1) Enabling more precise measurements of carbon sources and sinks to improve climate science; 2) Providing a map of real-time carbon emission which is useful for research, policy, and education; 3) Providing real-time, long-term remote carbon measurements for carbon trading markets; 4) Enabling extremely sensitive leak detection of CO2 in carbon capture and sequestration applications without the significant cost of mobile laboratory infrastructure. A more powerful set of gas sensors such as the ones developed through this project will dramatically lower the great expense currently required to precisely monitor greenhouse gases and air pollution, a critical global concern. Data generated by such carbon isotope ratio sensors will answer many critical questions related to the human impact of burning fossil fuels on the environment. These types of sensors will also simultaneously impact industrial and medical fields, providing new solutions for industrial process control and safety, and portable real-time medical breath analyzers.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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