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Awards

Topic Information Award/Contract Number Proposal Information Company Performance
Period
Award/Contract
Value
Abstract

H-SB010.2-001
Detector for Smuggled Currency

D10PC20031 1021149
(FY10.2 Phase I)
Electrospray Stand-off Detection of Trace Species in Air of Currency

Connecticut Analytical Corporation
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524-3006

10/15/2010
to
04/28/2011
$96,461.00

To detect and identify vapors of contraband currency, not to mention a selection mode for explosives, narcotics, chemical warfare agents, biological threats or other analyte species at trace levels in air, is an important problem with many ramifications. One widely used approach is based on transforming the molecules of those species into gas phase ions, which are then characterized by measurements of their mobility. Research is proposed on evaluating two novel and prospectively major improvements in this approach. One is to use a variation on Electrospray Ionization for the transformation of gaseous analyte molecules into ions. The other is to apply Pseudo Random Chopping techniques to ion mobility spectrometry. Preliminary experiments have shown that ESI can readily produce useful ion currents from species at sub parts per billion concentrations with very large SN ratios in open air, a requirement for sensitive standoff sniffing of contraband currency now performed using dogs. Moreover, ESI ionizes only polar molecules, ignoring all the nonpolar species that are a great majority of the molecules in air and other matrix gases. This selectivity eliminates most of the chemical noise that is a serious problem in IMS, where resolving power is limited.

H-SB010.2-002
Next Generation Vacuum Systems for Hand-held Mass Spectrometers

D10PC20034 1021082
(FY10.2 Phase I)
Electrospray Based High Vacuum Diffusion Pump for Mass Spectrometers

Connecticut Analytical Corporation
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524-3006

10/15/2010
to
04/28/2011
$98,905.00

Mass spectrometers necessitate a partial pressure zone to allow for the process of mass characterization of the analyte under consideration. The reasons for transforming neutral molecules into charged ions include (1) the ability to control the trajectories and destinations of charged species by appropriate combinations of electric and magnetic fields and (2) detectability that is generally much greater for ions than for neutral molecules because each ion gives rise to at least one electron in a primary signal current that can be greatly amplified by known techniques. The miniaturization of mass spectrometers suitable for handheld form factor has been principally hampered by a lack of new vacuum pump technology. Attempts to miniaturize turbomolecular pumps for portability suffer number of drawbacks in these applications. Chief among these are high cost, limited life, complexity, susceptibility to torque-induced gyroscopic precession, and a potential for catastrophic failure which may subject the user to possible shrapnel. An alternative is proposed whereby electrosprays of nonvolatile fluids may be employed as a new generation of high vacuum diffusion pump. Electrospray pumps do not require the heaters or cooling found in conventional oil based diffusion pumps, offering milliwatt instant-on operation, no moving parts, axis insensitivity, and low cost.