Final Report: Field Rugged, Portable H2O2 Monitor

EPA Contract Number: EPD07087
Title: Field Rugged, Portable H2O2 Monitor
Investigators: Frish, Michael B.
Small Business: Physical Sciences Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: May 1, 2007 through March 30, 2010
Project Amount: $224,966
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2007) Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Homeland Security , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


This Phase II SBIR project developed and tested a field-portable instrument intended for monitoring and controlling vapor phase hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) concentration during building decontamination after accidental or purposeful exposure to hazardous biological materials.  The sensor also measures water vapor concentration. The product is an adaptation of a portable gas-sensing platform based on Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS) technology. The sensor offers a combination of sensitivity, specificity, fast response, dynamic range, linearity, ease of operation and calibration, ruggedness, and portability not available in alternative H2O2 detectors. In Phase II, PSI, working with industrial collaborators, specified the requirements of a field-worthy sensor, built a prototype, calibrated it, and tested it in realistic deployment scenarios. Tests during room decontamination provided accurate calibration and comparison with electrochemical sensors while demonstrating real-time continuous data.

The initial application for the sensor will be for building decontamination. Customers for this product include government agencies, e.g., EPA and its contractors.  Commercial uses include pharmaceutical manufacturing and other sterilization applications; for example, barrier isolator systems are sterilized periodically by flushing with H2O2 vapor.  Full automation of these systems is an industry goal, but requires H2O2 analyzers with low-ppm sensitivity to optimize control of the sterilization process, reduce processing time, and provide a higher quality product.


Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

PSI developed and demonstrated a hand-portable sensor for accurately and sensitively measuring vapor phase H2O2 and H2O using TDLAS.  By isolating H2O2 spectral lines from neighboring H2O lines, the TDLAS analyzer eliminates, within the sensor detection limits, cross-sensitivities between the two vapor species and measures both. The H2O2 measurement range is about 0-5,000 ppmV.  H2O2 measurement precision is approximately 0.1 ppm with 0.1 Hz bandwidth, and absolute accuracy is better than 2 ppm in the presence of saturated water vapor at room temperature (nominally 3% H2O).  The H2O range is about 0 – 5 percent with better than 0.05 percent resolution.  The measured accuracy limit combines the effects of sensor offset drift, cross-sensitivity to H2O, and residual H2O2 desorbing from sensor components.  Data acquired indicate that the latter is the primary source of measurement error. 


The H2O2/H2O sensor developed in this project meets the technical requirements specified by PSI's industrial collaborators, commercial suppliers of decontamination equipment and services.  Integration of the sensor into decontamination equipment awaits a cost reduction that requires demand for several hundred units, a market that PSI's collaborators anticipate developing in upcoming years.  By using alternative laser wavelengths, the sensor design has been adapted to sensing other gases serving different industrial applications.  Products for this alternative market are scheduled for release in 2011.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, portable hydrogen peroxide monitor, TDLAS, building decontamination, field monitor, hydrogen peroxide sensor, spectroscopic gas analyzers, Sustainable Industry/Business, Scientific Discipline, RFA, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Monitoring, building decontamination, hydrogen peroxide, Vapor Phase Hydrogen Peroxide, Spectroscopic Sensors, Sterilization, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Engineering, building decontamination, field portable

SBIR Phase I:

Field Rugged, Portable H2O2 Monitor  | Final Report