Final Report: Microelectrochemical Capillary System for Environmental Analytical Lab on a Chip

EPA Contract Number: EPD11029
Title: Microelectrochemical Capillary System for Environmental Analytical Lab on a Chip
Investigators: Vaidya, Bikas
Small Business: Lynntech Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2011 through August 31, 2011
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Nanotechnology

Description:

As part of its mission to protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is dedicated to developing and promoting innovative cleanup strategies that restore contaminated sites to productive use, reduce associated costs, and promote environmental stewardship. In adopting this strategy, however, there will be an increasing need to implement a more cost-effective, long-term monitoring strategy for all remediation sites, as well as for the surrounding areas, which have not been addressed adequately by the current state-of-the-art monitoring technologies. To address the problem, Lynntech is developing a new, automated field deployable laboratory with the ability to simultaneously analyze both organic pollutants and metal contaminants in environmental samples. The key component of the system is a new multichannel, micro capillary electrochemical-driven device that uses electrokinetic-induced, electro-osmotic flow for organic separation and identification. This unit is highly synergistic to many of the complementary processing and analytical microfluidic devices that have been developed by Lynntech for environmental monitoring. These include an electrochemical stripping voltammetric analysis, selective preconcentration and an optical detection system. The development of this instrument has been funded by EPA through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

During the Phase I research period, Lynntech has met the goal of detection of 10 ppb levels of the metal contaminants (mercury, lead, cadmium and hexavalent chromium) in water samples, and is developing a novel inline pre-concentrator to enable detection of trace levels of organic contaminants, such as BTEX and halogenated solvents. Lynntech also has identified the parameters required to develop a field deployable system for detection of both metal and organic contaminants in water. A preliminary design of the integrated systems for the Phase II effort also has been completed.

Conclusions:

In the Phase I of the SBIR project, Lynntech has demonstrated the feasibility of a low-cost, “Green Remediation” compliant remote monitoring system with the ability to detect both metal and organic contaminants from a mixture in 10 ppb levels. The instrument will be able to be operated by personnel with very little training in analytical techniques (e.g., community members) in a low technology environment, and will have the ability to run for months or longer without human intervention.

An automated metal and organic contaminants detection system based on the results of the Phase I research will be developed and its application for detection of metal and organic contaminants in ground water at 10 ppb or lower levels demonstrated in Phase II. At completion of Phase II, this instrument will provide accurate, inexpensive, easy-to-use and sustainable (green) detection capabilities that can be used by both trained and untrained (community) personnel and allow for more rapid hazardous waste site cleanups.
 
Commercialization: A Technology Niche Analysis in collaboration with an external consulting group, Foresight Science and Technology, has been conducted. The survey received customer and other new commercial vendor feedback on expanding the market share for this technology. The Technology Niche Analysis showed that there is a strong commercial pull for this technology. EPA policy along with customer feedback and need are driving the development of this product. This drive fits directly into the growing $3.8 billion instrumentation industry. The combination of “green technology,” very low reagent needs, long-term remote monitoring capabilities, and reduction in operational costs generate a strong commercial pull that provides an environment for rapid market acceptance. In addition, Lynntech is discussing a partnership with a leading environmental testing and monitoring company to advance research and development and lead commercialization efforts of the technology.

SBIR Phase II:

Microelectrochmical Capillary System for Environmental Analytical Lab on a Chip  | Final Report