Ultrasensitive Toxic Chemical Detector

EPA Contract Number: EPD04024
Title: Ultrasensitive Toxic Chemical Detector
Investigators: Bunker, Stephen N.
Small Business: Implant Sciences Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Homeland Security , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The ability to detect and identify trace quantities of hazardous materials has become a significant requirement for protecting the population during the war on terrorism. However, the ability to detect and identify trace concentrations of a wide range of chemicals in the field using a man-portable instrument is severely limited. The ability to quickly and reliably identify toxic industrial chemicals in the presence of typical building interferents would give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a substantially higher probability of avoiding injury or death during a chemical attack or accidental chemical release. The goal of this Phase I research project is to combine an array of new technologies, including laser-based ion mobility spectroscopy, a unique long-distance cyclone gas sampling method, induced long-distance vapor emission from the environment, solid-phase microextraction fiber preconcentration with fast desorption, and bipolar mode analyses to significantly increase the sensitivity to trace toxic chemicals. Many of these new technologies already have been demonstrated in a portable ultrasensitive explosives detection system that is capable of detecting, within a few seconds, very low volatility plastic explosives at room temperature by emitted vapor alone and with no particle collection required.

Implant Sciences Corporation will produce a portable, ultrasensitive toxic chemical detector for field analyses of buildings. A related product will be an inexpensive multisensor version with similar sensitivity that is intended for fixed monitoring of the atmosphere in entire buildings, subways, and other enclosed areas. This product may be adapted to a wide variety of chemical sensing, including trace chemical monitoring of manufacturing processes, medically relevant trace vapors, security applications, and incipient equipment failure, such as overheated wiring within bundles.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, ultrasensitive toxic chemical detector, safe buildings, hazardous material, chemicals, laser-based ion mobility spectroscopy, cyclone gas sampling method, long-distance vapor emission, solid-phase microextraction fiber preconcentration, bipolar mode analyses, explosives detection system, homeland security, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, homeland security, atmospheric measurement, environmental monitoring, biological warfare agents, field portable systems, laser based emissions monitoring, chemical characteristics, field portable monitoring, industrial emissions, air sampling, chemical detection techniques, field monitoring, field deployable, toxicity, cyclone gas samoling, field detection, air quality field measurements, chemical warfare agents, chemical attack

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report