Fremont, CA, United States
Fremont, CA, United States

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Patent
Frito Lay North America Inc. and Applied Spectra, Inc. | Date: 2015-09-25

A method and apparatus for analyzing one or more elements of targeted moving snack food surfaces uses laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy to detect the presence, absence, or amount of an element on a heterogeneous surface, including seasoned and ready-to-eat snack foods. A laser is used to quantify the element concentration without destroying the targeted sample. An automated on-line system may be integrated into the method to create a closed-loop feedback control system, adjusting the concentration as desired.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.98K | Year: 2013

This proposal addresses NASA SBIR topic S1.07 In Situ Sensors for Lunar and Planetary Science, particularly the need for measuring isotopic ratios of the key elements associated with the signs of life (H, C, N, O). We propose a non-contact optical instrument similar to ChemCam that will be capable of measuring not only complete elemental compositions but also isotopic abundances of the key elements in surface materials. We intend to utilize and further develop our recently published technology: Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry (LAMIS). Our concept is simple, scientifically proven and already endorsed by two innovation awards we received. In Phase I, we concentrate on demonstrating the resolution and sensitivity required to determine these isotopes in synthetic samples and natural minerals relevant to Mars. The immediate focus is on Mars but our concept is also highly germane to future landing missions to the Moon, other planets and their moons, asteroids, and to a broad range of applications in ecology, agronomy, nuclear industry, radio-chemotherapy, forensics, security and other fields. We will advance the development to TRL4 by the end of Phase II with the further aim of integrating our LAMIS detector with a ChemCam-like instrument. The proposed instrument leverages and advances the technology developed for ChemCam. The added strength of measuring isotopes will greatly expand the capabilities of the ChemCam, which is now the most frequently used instrument onboard "Curiosity." In Phase II, we will develop a breadboard prototype of the instrument that can be amended to measure other key isotopes (B, Cl, Mg, Ca, Sr, etc.). We plan further infusion in NASA missions and commercialization in Phases II-Ex and III. Our instrument can be used for stand-alone landing missions or for in situ sample characterization prior to sample return.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 145.88K | Year: 2012

Understanding the stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen (13C/12C-15N/14N) determine how the composition of organic matter will be changed by biogeochemical processes. Stable isotope data can contribute to both source-sink and process information in carbon- sequestration and climate change studies. In particular, there is a need to better understand the processes by which warming may drive increased plant productivity and atmospheric carbon uptake and storage in biomass and soils, as well as those processes that may drive an increase in the release of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) through microbial decomposition of soil carbon stored in the ecosystem. We propose the demonstration and evaluation of a new technology called LAMIS (Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectroscopy) which was developed by Applied Spectra in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to address the measurement of carbon and nitrogen isotopes. LAMIS provides isotope ratio measurements in real-time, at atmospheric pressure (no mass spectrometer) and without sample preparation. The technology is based on laser plasma spectroscopy. The traditional approach to chemical analysis using laser plasmas has been to measure atomic transitions which provide elemental analysis. This technology is known as LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy). LAMIS is different in that by tailoring these laser plasmas, we can enhance and measure molecular spectra. The benefit of molecular spectra is significantly enhanced isotopic signatures. Molecular spectra exhibit two- three orders of magnitude increase in isotopic splitting, which is easily measured at atmospheric pressure and with a relatively small spectrometer. Light elements are particularly favorable to LAMIS measurements. The proposed Phase I research will provide proof of principle of calculations and measurements for carbon and nitrogen isotopes, demonstration of LAMIS on known samples, and the proposed design of a Phase II prototype. The R & amp;D will be in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.95K | Year: 2012

The development of cost effective lithium-ion batteries is the cornerstone for meeting the goals of vehicle electrification. Both researchers and manufacturers of Li-ion batteries need a rapid and simple-to-use but powerful analytical technology, which can enable nanometer-scale depth resolution in real time during the electrochemical cycling of the batteries. Currently available analytical techniques are extremely expensive, time consuming, labor-intense, involving very large equipment, e.g., synchrotron radiation or ultra high vacuum. We propose to develop a bench top optical sensor for direct, real-time measurements of the chemical composition of battery materials and electrode/electrolyte interfaces, with depth resolution down to the nanometer range. Such measurements yield real-time chemical information on lithium-ion or other kind of batteries that are currently unattainable by other analytical techniques. Our proposed technology will provide a crucial tool in the development of large-capacity lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicle applications. The principle of operation will be based on Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). Commercial Applications and Other Benefits High-volume manufacturing of advanced batteries for HEV, PHEV, and EV will create a strong demand for real-time metrology and analytical tools, used for rapid characterization of battery manufacturing materials and process control. Moreover, the demand for Li-ion batteries has the potential to spread into areas other than electric vehicles. For example, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power generation requires electrochemical storage to compensate the time lag between production and consumption. Our analytical technology will be also useful in many other fields where localized mapping is necessary, including rapid in-situ characterization of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. For many applications it is important to be able to verify that nano- and micro-structures meet the chemical/physical design specifications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.93K | Year: 2013

The development of cost effective lithium-ion batteries is the cornerstone for meeting the goals of vehicle electrification. Both researchers and manufacturers of Li-ion batteries need a rapid and simple- to-use powerful technology that can enable nanometer-scale depth resolution chemical analysis in real time during the electrochemical cycling of the batteries. Currently available analytical techniques are extremely expensive, time consuming, labor-intense, involving very large equipment, e.g., synchrotron radiation or ultra high vacuum. We successfully demonstrated a new optical sensor technology in the Phase I SBIR for direct, real-time measurements of the chemical composition of battery materials and electrode/electrolyte interfaces, with depth resolution down to the nanometer scale. The technology yields real-time chemical information on lithium-ion batteries that was unattainable by other analytical techniques. The basis of the new technology is Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS); the same technology that NASA landed on Mars on the Curiosity Rover. Our Phase II research will provide optimization of the technology for rapid highly spatially resolved, sensitive 2D and 3D measurements of Li-ion cell chemistry. The advances will be integrated designed and fabricated into a prototype instrument for battery materials research and manufacture of large-capacity lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicle applications. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: High-volume manufacturing of advanced batteries for HEV, PHEV, and EV demands new real-time metrology and analytical tools, for rapid characterization of battery manufacturing materials and process control. For battery performance, reliability and safety, it is important to verify that nano- and micro-structures meet the chemical/physical design specifications. The demand for Li-ion batteries has the potential to spread into areas other than electric vehicles. For example, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power generation require electrochemical storage to compensate the time lag between production and consumption. Our analytical technology and commercial instrument address these markets, and will be useful in other fields where spatial mapping is necessary, including rapid in situ characterization of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.90K | Year: 2013

Ecological processes lead to distinctive isotope patterns. Measuring the isotopic signatures provide answers to fundamental questions on bio-productivity and energy cycling and give clues to the origin of life and evolution. Consequently, isotopic data hold keys to predicting future climate changes that may influence global temperature, energy needs, availability of drinking water, and food supplies. Carbon isotopes are most important for understanding of biochemistry but measuring only one isotope is insufficient. Several key isotopes will provide main constraints on the processes. Currently mass spectrometers are used for isotopic measurements but they require deep vacuum and time- consuming dissolution of samples prior to analysis. Thus, the isotopes cannot be measured in the field. Applied Spectra invented a new technology: Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry (LAMIS) that provides real-time isotopic measurements at atmospheric pressure directly in the field. The ability of LAMIS for simultaneous elemental and isotopic analysis, including depth profiling and chemical mapping makes it a useful tool for carbon sequestration in climate change studies. The feasibility of LAMIS for carbon and nitrogen isotopes was demonstrated in Phase I. We completed calculations and experiments to verify high sensitivity of LAMIS to sub-natural abundances. The proposed development for Phase II includes methods, sampling protocols and chemometric multivariate calibration for high accuracy and sensitivity in C, N, H isotopic measurements. LAMIS spectra will be correlated to the standard isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). The LIBS-LAMIS hardware components and final configuration will be established in Phase II. An overall goal is to integrate LAMIS technology in a prototype commercial instrument, providing rapid LIBS and LAMIS measurements at the same time. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: LAMIS has a significant potential for multiple commercial applications. It is poised to speed up, to simplify and to make isotopic analysis more affordable than at present. We anticipate applications in ecological and agronomical studies, carbon sequestration, natural gas and oil exploration, medical diagnostics and therapies, forensics, homeland security, paleoclimatology, material sciences, biological research and life sciences. LAMIS will revolutionize isotopic measurements. No other technology provides isotopic ratio measurements at atmospheric pressure and without a mass spectrometer. We believe this project will be carried over into Phase III and beyond. A large area of future applications is related to the Marcellus shale gas exploration: C and H isotopes will help distinguish Marcellus organics from other organics.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.99K | Year: 2010

We propose the detailed conceptual development of a device for analyzing key isotopic composition in surface materials without sample preparation. We will combine absorption spectroscopy with laser induced vaporization of solid samples for high-resolution isotopic measurements. An immediate focus is on Mars but our concept is also highly germane to other applications relevant to bio- and geochemical objectives. We will evaluate accuracy, sensitivity, and resolution of our technology for isotopic detection of the key elements associated with signs of life (C, S, H, O) in solid materials. All essential design components of the proposed analyzer have been separately developed and demonstrated in very compact form for other applications. We will demonstrate the overall performance of the proposed technique and build a breadboard prototype instrument. Commercial systems based on the Phase II prototype will be developed and marketed during Phase III.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.99K | Year: 2016

“One of the gravest threats the United States and the international community face is the possibility that terrorists or rogue nations will acquire nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.” (http://nnsa.energy.gov/aboutus/ourprograms/nonproliferation-0). Safeguards provide assurances to the international community that nuclear materials and facilities are not being used for the illicit manufacture of nuclear weapons. To deter the proliferation of nuclear weapons, advanced technologies for rapid analysis of elemental and isotopic signatures are needed to detect the misuse of nuclear materials. How this problem is being addressed This project will leverage and advance NNSA technology developed at the DOE National Laboratories for advanced rapid elemental and isotopic analysis using laser ablation sampling with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). By coupling Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) and Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectroscopy (LAMIS) with ICP-MS analysis, improved precision, reduced influence of isobaric interferences, and additional lighter elements and isotopic signatures can be rapidly measured in one instrument platform. What will be done A viable approach to expand ICP-MS analytical capability is to utilize additional simultaneous technologies to complement such measurements. The proposed research will address: signal correlation from LIBS/LAMIS with LA-ICP-MS to improve measurement precision; expand light-element/isotope coverage; offer wider dynamic range of analysis through data fusion; development of an automated warning indicator for ICP-MS isobaric interference; and fabrication of a prototype commercial instrument for rapid elemental and isotopic analysis of heterogeneous materials. Phase I will establish proof of concept for improving precision, eliminating interferences and for additional elemental/isotopic signatures related to Safeguards. Phase II will develop a commercial instrument for testing at PNNL. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits The proposed capability and instrument will benefit the international Safeguards community with a powerful tool for measuring every element and isotope in samples without sample preparation. Rapid analytical measurements of nuclear materials are critical for NWAL and IAEA needs. Our approach of an integrated instrument for measuring every element on the periodic chart has significant potential for many other commercial applications, including biological imaging, geochemical age dating, and Advanced Manufacturing in industry. Key Words: Nuclear Safeguards; Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry; Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy; Laser ablation molecular isotopic spectrometry; Rapid Precise Isotopic Analysis


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.98K | Year: 2016

Chemical composition of raw petroleum affects the refining methods to produce fuels and other products. Impurities can (i) cause adverse effects in refining and (ii) must meet regulated limits in products (e.g.,


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.97K | Year: 2014

This project addresses the need for a non-contact instrument capable of measuring the isotopic ratios O-18/O-16 and D/H from water ice and other solid materials (rocks). Frozen H2O is the dominant ice in the outer solar system, recently found on the Moon. Extensive deposits of near-surface ice discovered on Mars. Oxygen and hydrogen isotopic records preserve history of water/rock interactions depending on chemistry and ambient conditions. Ratios of these isotopes are the main tool in paleoclimatology studies on Earth. A proposed non-contact optical instrument similar to ChemCam will be capable of measuring not only complete elemental compositions but also the key isotopic abundances in surface materials. We demonstrated the resolution and sensitivity required to determine these isotopes in synthetic samples and natural minerals relevant to Mars. We are utilizing and developing our recently published technology: Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry (LAMIS). Our concept is simple and scientifically proven. We will advance to TRL4 with the further aim of integrating our LAMIS detector with a ChemCam-like instrument. The proposed effort leverages and advances the technology developed for ChemCam. The added strength of measuring isotopes will greatly expand the capabilities of the ChemCam, which is already a highly successful instrument onboard "Curiosity". We will develop a breadboard prototype of the instrument that can be later amended to measure other key isotopes (C, N, B, Cl, Mg, Ca, Sr). We plan further infusion in NASA missions and commercialization. The immediate focus is on Mars but our concept is also highly germane to future landing missions to the Moon, other planets and their moons, asteroids, and to a broad range of applications in ecology, agronomy, nuclear industry, radio-chemotherapy, forensics, security and other fields. Our instrument can be used for stand-alone landing missions or for in situ sample characterization prior to sample return.

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