Handheld Detection System for TCE and PCE

EPA Contract Number: EPD10021
Title: Handheld Detection System for TCE and PCE
Investigators: Lewis, Patrick R.
Small Business: Defiant Technologies, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2010 through August 31, 2010
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Nanotechnology


The concept of this SBIR project is to employ a hand-held sensor system to monitor groundwater. This concept recognizes the need for users to query field sensors remotely to report on concentration of contaminants like trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE). The missing part of this concept is a low-power sensor system that can reliably analyze groundwater for these contaminants. Defiant Technologies takes advantage of microchemical detection technologies recently developed at Sandia National Laboratories. The founders of Defiant were the originators and developers of this technology at Sandia, and they have developed it privately over the past 3 years for defense applications. The end product of this effort will be a miniature chemical sensor system that will report on groundwater concentration of TCE and PCE in a package that can be adapted for use in even the smallest bore wells. Defiant’s current system can detect TCE and PCE in water at a concentration of 50 μg/L; however, with modifications to the system detector and gas chromatography (GC) column this system could achieve 1 μ/L. In Phase I of this project, Defiant will work on these two components.  Defiant will construct its new high-aspect ratio micro GC column for use in Phase II. In addition, Defiant will further develop its new MEMs pivot plate resonator mass detector with associated electronics. By the end of the first phase, Defiant will have bread-boarded a tortuous path preconcentrator, a micro GC column, and a PPR mass detector. Defiant also will have demonstrated a purge and trap analysis utilizing that technology and a path forward to reach a detection limit of 1 μg/L in Phase II.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, groundwater, contaminants, nanotechnology, defense applications, chemical sensor, handheld detector, TCE, PCE, groundwater monitoring, measurement and monitoring, volatile organic compounds, VOCs, miniature chemical sensor, microchemical detection,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Handheld System for Detection of TCE and PCE