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Hayward, CA, United States

Patent
Brechtel Manufacturing, Inc. | Date: 2014-05-16

A system and method comprising a liquid interface with an electrode. The electrode may be coupled to a MEMS-based electrometer for sensing small amounts of charge imposed on the electrode. In some embodiments ion exchangers may be employed to provide for specific selectivity for certain ions or molecules. The electrometer may include a comb drive actuator coupled to a moving shuttle supported on flexures.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2012

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will support the development of a new airborne particle counter to allow rapid observations of ambient nanoparticle size and concentration. The device will be highly sensitive, simple to use, inexpensive, and easily deployed for remote, autonomous operation. The key component of the instrument is a new Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) sensor that will eliminate the need for expensive, bulky, condensational-growth-based techniques that require consumable working fluids and complex optical detectors. The new technology will largely eliminate the cost, size, weight, and operator-expertise constraints of currently available technologies. Phase I of this project will include development of mechanical designs and computational fluid dynamics models of the various key systems and construction and laboratory testing of prototypes of the aerosol sizer and MEMS sensor. Applications of the new technology include aerosol health effects studies, routine continuous monitoring of ambient ultrafine particle size distributions, studies of rapid aerosol evolution in power-plant and other exhaust plumes, creation of data sets for climate change models, drug development by pharmaceutical firms, and indoor air quality monitoring for silicon wafer processing, green building, and household applications.

Broader impact/commercial potential of this project includes satisfying the need for increased spatial and temporal coverage of aerosol data while creating a measurement technique accessible to a more general group of users through its reduced cost and ease of use. Initial customers include air quality researchers at universities and within federal and state governments. As the technique is validated through peer-reviewed publications, the customer base will expand to air quality monitoring network administrators and wafer processing firms. As the device operation is proven in routine monitoring applications, its application will be extended to green-building and household indoor air-monitoring applications. Broader application of the device will serve as an educational tool for students and investigators leading to more widespread understanding of the processes that influence particle size and concentration in ambient, laboratory and industrial settings. Increased understanding of atmospheric aerosol processes will serve as important information for investigators in the areas of global climate change and aerosol health impacts. Industrial applications include remote operation for monitoring of clean room contaminants and evaluation of the dose-delivery of aerosolized pharmaceutical drugs.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2007

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will support the continued development of a new Synchronous Differential Mobility Analyzer (SDMA) aerosol sizing and counting system that is simple to use, inexpensive, and allows rapid observations of ambient particle number size distributions over the 0.005 to 0.4 micron diameter range. The new technology will largely eliminate the cost, size, weight, and operator-expertise limitations of currently available sizing technologies. Prototypes of the particle sizing, growth and optical detection systems will be fabricated and the instrument will be tested side-by-side against standard instruments in the laboratory. Broader impacts of the proposed research include satisfying the need for increased spatial and temporal coverage of ambient aerosol data while creating a measurement technique accessible to a more general group of users through reduced cost and ease of use. The broader application of the new technology will serve as an educational tool for students and investigators leading to more widespread understanding of how particle concentration varies with size in ambient, laboratory and industrial settings. Increased understanding of the variability of the ambient aerosol number size distribution will serve as important information for investigators in the areas of aerosol global climate and particulate pollution health impacts.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2006

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will support the development of a new Differential Mobility Analyzer aerosol sizing and counting system that is simple to use, inexpensive, can be easily deployed for remote, autonomous operation, and allows rapid observations of ambient particle number size distributions over the 0.005 to 0.35 micrometer diameter range. The new technology will largely eliminate the cost, size, weight, and operator-expertise limitations of currently available sizing technologies. A theoretical model of instrument response and mechanical designs of the various components will be completed during the project. A prototype of the sizing system will be fabricated and the instrument will be tested side-by-side against standard instruments in the laboratory. Applications of the new technology include aerosol health effects studies, routine monitoring of ambient aerosol size distributions, studies of rapid aerosol evolution in power-plant plumes, and radiative closure calculations that relate key aerosol properties to ambient light extinction.


Grant
Agency: Department of Commerce | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 95.00K | Year: 2006

To assess the climate impacts of atmospheric aerosols, global datasets of aerosol properties including the number size distribution, chemical composition, and absorption coefficient are needed yet generally unavailable. Knowledge of the vertical distributions of these key properties is also required to properly model column extinction. We propose to develop a new aerosol measurement system, the Aerosol Counting Composition Absorption and Sizing System (ACCASS), capable of simultaneous observations of ambient total number concentrations, aerodynamic number size distributions, and chemical composition over the 0.1 to 10 micron diameter range. A model of instrument response will be created to guide the design of a new mixing particle counter, virtual impactor, and light absorption system. Prototypes of key ACCASS sub-systems will be bench-tested to assess their technical feasibility.

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