Development of a Miniature Detector for Accurate Identification of Toxic Environmental Contaminants (DATEC)

EPA Grant Number: R826648
Title: Development of a Miniature Detector for Accurate Identification of Toxic Environmental Contaminants (DATEC)
Investigators: Tepper, Gary C.
Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 1998 through September 30, 2001
Project Amount: $302,268
RFA: Exploratory Research - Environmental Chemistry (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainability , Land and Waste Management , Air , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry


This program is for the development of a new chemical detector technology that will allow accurate identification and quantification of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the environment. Specifically, the detector will be small, portable, inexpensive and capable of monitoring the presence of a wide range of atmospheric contaminants.


The DATEC detector first uses a highly selective, thermally stable polymer film deposited by a technique known as Rapid Expansion of Supercritical Solutions (RESS) to selectively concentrate chemical environmental contaminants onto the sensing surface of a small SAW-based transducer. The polymer film is engineered to selectively concentrate a particular class of chemicals and is not required to be totally selective to an individual species. Final species identification is then accomplished using Surface Acoustic Wave Thermal Desorption Spectroscopy (SAW-TDS) which provides a unique SAW desorption signature for each adsorbed species. Thus, the DATEC detector is a simple hand-held device that provides spectroscopic characterization and quantification of toxic environmental contaminants.

Expected Results:

Determination of the sources and impact of volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere is vitally important for environmental conservation and health maintenance and depends on accurate species identification and quantification. The DATEC detector has the potential to dramatically improve our ability to identify, track and quantify the presence of toxic chemicals in the atmosphere using a simple, inexpensive, field deployable device. The numerous benefits of this technology include improved environmental quality and the protection of human health.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 24 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Monitoring, Measurement methods, Risk Assessment, Scientific Discipline, Air, Toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, VOCs, Environmental Monitoring, Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, thermally stable polymer film, field portable systems, surface acustic wave thermal desorption, spectroscopic studies, portable atmospheric contamination detector, chemical composition, air sampling, spectroscopy, field monitoring, chemical detection techniques, analytical chemistry, DATEC

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • Final Report