Newark, CA, United States
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Patent
KWJ Engineering, Inc. | Date: 2014-06-27

A printed gas sensor is disclosed. The sensor may include a partially porous substrate, an electrode layer, an electrolyte layer, and an encapsulation layer. The electrode layer comprises one or more electrodes that are formed on one side of the porous substrate. The electrolyte layer is in electrolytic contact with the one or more electrodes. The encapsulation layer encapsulates the electrode layer and electrolyte layer thereby forming an integrated structure with the partially porous substrate.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 155.00K | Year: 2016

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project addresses development of a new, disruptive strategy for direct measurement of CO2 in air. The project will focus on development of an amperometric CO2 sensor with advanced electrolytes and novel electrode catalyst materials that will enable for the first time the direct measurement of CO2 in air by inexpensive methods, potentially displacing NDIR for CO2 measurement in building interior environments and other applications. The objectives of the Phase I program will include identification and testing of new electrode catalysts for CO2 measurement, identification of new electrolyte media to promote amperometric measurement of CO2 and demonstration of a novel, printed sensor which is not only ultralow power and very small, but able to measure CO2 in air directly in an inexpensive and potentially highly distributable format compatible with modern “Internet of Things” wireless applications. This SBIR Phase I proposal addresses development of a new, amperometric CO2 sensing technology that combines novel electrochemical electrolytes and cost-effective, screen-printed gas sensing devices to provide a new tool to support building air quality and energy efficiency. In Phase I, KWJ will select novel electrolytes and electrode materials for efficient CO2 monitoring in air and will fabricate printed amperometric gas sensors based on these materials. The sensors will be characterized and tested for a suite of key gas sensor performance parameters under relevant environmental conditions. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed technology represents a fundamentally enabling and disruptive approach to CO2 monitoring that leverages the current market pull toward ubiquitous sensing. New, improved CO2 monitoring methods that reduce production cost and improve sensitivity will provide broad measurement alternatives in a variety of fields. In addition to the subject market of building AQ and HVAC control, a number of other large markets that rely on CO2 measurements, including the food and beverage, medical diagnostic, ventilation control systems will benefit greatly from the cost reduction and performance improvements in CO2 monitoring. When commercialized, the proposed low cost, low power, high performance technology will find broad use in a variety of applications, many of which are of significant societal benefit, including studies of atmospheric carbon cycles, carbon pollution mitigation and the design of energy efficient commercial and residential green building ventilation control systems. Key Words: amperometric, gas, sensor, screen printed, carbon, dioxide


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.98K | Year: 2015

KWJ offers this proposal for a low-power, practical and versatile MEMS sensor platform for NASA applications. The proposed nano-sensor platform is ultra-low power with sub-millisecond electrical response time for thermal conductivity operation. Integration with Pd surface functionalization will lead to enhanced performance for hydrogen sensing and selectivity with helium, while SiC structures can lead to enhanced hydrogen sensing. The KWJ MEMS platform has unique characteristics of small thermal mass and ultra-fast sensor response. The rapid stabilization allows very short operating duty cycles thereby extending battery life while communicating the output in near-real time. The miniature platform enables distributed and stand-alone sensing at low cost and virtually no maintenance and can be integrated with energy harvesting technology for long term remote operation. This adaptable array technology can be employed for detection of hydrogen, oxygen, methane, helium and other hydrocarbons and cryogenic propellants for NASA. In addition to cryogenic system leak detection the platform can address trace levels of nitrogen and water in gaseous helium purge streams. This platform technology offers multiple possibilities for sensor functionality and will create spin-offs for NASA, industrial and medical applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 148.58K | Year: 2015

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant The overall goal of the Phase I program will be to provide proof of feasibility for a new unobtrusive wrist band style blood alcohol sensor The device will continuously measure blood alcohol content BAC by noninvasive detection of transdermal alcohol content TAC using an ultralow power microwatt tiny printed gas sensor recently developed in our company The wrist band will also provide several key physiological measurements temperature local skin humidity position activity and heart rate detection in addition to BAC This device will prove beneficial in clinical and research settings alcohol treatment programs the criminal justice system and public safety Capitalizing on the recent trend toward public demand for wearable technology for health monitoring the wristband will also be attractive to individuals who wish to use it for health and activity tracking The vast majority of alcohol monitoring performed today is done in support of court ordered alcohol treatment for example in DUI cases The ankle monitors used here are bulky obtrusive and can interfere with the performance of daily routine activities The goal of this program is to develop new wrist band style monitor that is smaller nonintrusive comfortable and more appealing to the wearer This will facilitate treatment compliance and will make the product more appealing to the mass market for example in voluntary health and fitness sectors The technical strategy for Phase I will focus on the fabrication and validation of the ultralow power printed alcohol sensor for measurement of transdermal alcohol and incorporation of the sensor and supporting electronics into a wristband sized package Selected supporting physiological sensors will be identified and tested along with the alcohol sensor in a benchtop alpha prototype in Phase I The system will provide BAC physiological data wireless data transmission to smart phone web based health systems and will be able to self calibrate and indicate out of calibration status The device will be removable and able to operate for up to a year on a single coin cell battery The Phase I program will provide a clear path to full prototype development and testing in Phase II This device will provide societal benefits by improved compliance in alcohol abuse treatment facilitation of public safety new avenues to long term studies and knowledge in research and clinical settings and improved general health Economic benefits will accrue from job creation to provide the new technology and reduced healthcare costs related to alcohol abuse PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE This program will develop a new noninvasive blood alcohol monitor in the form of wrist band The device will be small comfortable and compatible with routine daily activities This device will prove beneficial in clinical and research settings alcool treatment programs the criminal justice system and public safety and will capitalize on the recent trend toward public demand for wearable technology for health monitoring


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.98K | Year: 2015

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant The goal of this STTR Phase I collaboration between KWJ Engineering KWJ and North Carolina State University NCSU will be development of a unique autonomously powered wearable environmental gas sensor for personal exposure monitoring PEM The approach will be to integrate KWJ ultralow power high performance printed amperometric gas sensor for key atmospheric pollutants including carbon monoxide CO ozone O and nitrogen dioxide NO with thermoelectric power harvesting technology under development at NCSU This integration will provide a new tool for personal and personalized exposure assessment This program addresses the NIEHS mission to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives and specifically the identified need for tools for improved exposure assessment The wearable sensors with on board power harvesting will derive all required power from body heat via a small thermoelectric generator TEG and associated electronic components incorporated into a lightweight unobtrusive wearable system Very small lightweight unobtrusive monitoring systems will broaden the conditions under which exposure studies can be performed and will remove the need for awkward bulky or inconvenient sampling collection devices and batteries This system will expand the scope of PEM studies and provide increased capability to produce personalized data from mobile individuals thus improving the ability of federal agencies to protect human health and well being relative to environmental inhalation hazards KWJandapos s new class of amperometric gas sensor the screen printed electrochemical sensor SPEC promises to deliver high performance gas sensing for a wide range of applications at commodity level prices These devices which are about the size of a micro SD cell phone card use a variety of conventional and developmental electrolytes tuned for specific tasks as well as novel detection electrode catalysts This provides unprecedented access to a wide range of tunable selectivity sensitivity and robustness to environmental conditions compared to conventional amperometric gas sensors This is a new cost competitive high performance technology that bridges the cost performance gap for gas measurement applications The Phase I program will involve fabrication and testing of SPEC devices using components down selected for effective sensing of the target gases at relevant environmental levels These components will then be integrated into a demonstration using thermoelectric power sources in a body worn system Additional target gases and particulates criteria pollutants are envisions as add ons to the system in Phase II PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE A new next generation personal exposure monitoring technology based on ultralow power high performance gas sensors and thermoelectric self powered operation by body heat energy harvesting will be developed The wearable system will provide new capabilities for personal exposure assessment of toxic atmospheric pollutants and will provide a new route to personalized exposure monitoring for the improvement of health


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.22K | Year: 2015

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant The overall goal of this SBIR Phase II program is to continue development and commercialization of a new class of gas sensor under development by KWJ Engineering Inc KWJ to ozone monitoring and the implementation of a new home ozone alarm based on this technology This Phase I program is directly related to the mission of NIEHS as it aims to reduce of the burden of human disease and dysfunction arising from environmental causes by providing a reliable means for at risk populations to be aware of unhealthy ozone conditions in their homes We will demonstrate the application of this new gas sensor a very small ultralow power high reliability printed electrochemical sensor for development of a home ozone O alarm for individuals with respiratory diseases and all those concerned about their exposure to ozone This alarm will help those with respiratory conditions to manage their health by alerting them to ozone conditions that may exacerbate respiratory problems or pose danger to life and health Over million people in the United States live in areas of nonattainment of the EPA hour ozone standard The potential for development of asthma and other respiratory conditions as well as aggravation of existing respiratory conditions among at risk groups including the elderly and children in such high ground level ozone areas calls for a practical home ozone monitor similar to the carbon monoxide monitors that are now commonplace in the home KWJandapos s new class of amperometric gas sensor the screen printed electrochemical sensor SPEC will deliver high performance gas sensing for a wide range of applications at commodity level prices These devices which are about the size of a dime are able to use a variety of conventional and developmental electrolytes This provides unprecedented access to a wide range of tunable selectivity sensitivity and robustness to environmental conditions compared to conventional sensors The Phase I program involved fabrication and testing of SPEC devices with demonstration that new electrodes and electrolytes could be used to produce sensor with better sensitivity detection limit stability and reliability that current commercial sensors These sensors were validated vs standard UV spectrometric ozone measurement and demonstrated successfully as the transducer for actuation of a home ozone alarm demonstration with ozone concentrations relevant to health concerns to ppb Phase II will complete development of the sensor particularly its rational design based on the electrolytes and catalysts and will produce prototype ozone alarm units to be tested and validated with our industrial partners PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Development of new next generation high performance low cost gas sensing technologies for ozone will make gas sensing more widely available for health and safety protection The proposed program will provide a new powerful printed gas sensor format with demonstrated improved performance and reliability compared to currently available commercial ozone sensors These sensors will form the heart of a home ozone alarm with high reliability to help protect the health of people with respiratory conditions living in high ground level ozone areas


Grant
Agency: Department of Homeland Security | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2014

KWJ proposes to develop an ultra-low power and low cost, handheld device for monitoring of post-fire air quality, including DHS target toxic gases, combustion gases, CO2, LEL and particular matter (PM). The proposed device will significantly improve the current air monitoring instrumentation of protecting fire responders from hazard post-fire environment. Current multi-gas analyzers are not suitable for field applications, either providing insufficient toxic gas analysis (only 4-6 gases), or large, heavy and with a slow analysis time. An additional sampler is required to collect PM information. KWJ possesses several patented sensor techniques for manufacturing small, ultralow power (microwatts per sensor) yet high performance gas sensors: printed amperometric sensor, MEMS sensors and compact multi-channel sensor chips. Integrating these innovative gas sensors with a compact PM detector, KWJ will be able to develop a device that offers a broad range of sensing requirements in a single, highly portable and low power package for personnel safety in the post-fire environment. In Phase I, KWJ will thoroughly evaluate commercially available gas sensors and KWJ sensing technique, choose corresponding KWJ advanced sensing technique, select candidates of CO2, LEL and PM detectors, fabricate ultra-small, ultra-low power printed sensors and compare their performance with commercial sensors, and lay out the detailed design of the proposed device. The prototypes of the device will be built in Phase II and tested in the field.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 121.85K | Year: 2014

In this project, KWJ proposes to develop a low power, fast response, lightweight miniature CH4 measurement system based on KWJ nano-TCD sensor for airborne measurement operation. KWJ has developed patented sub-µm dimension TCDs, with ultra low power consumption (


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.16K | Year: 2012

This proposal addresses the Army"s requirements outlined in the solicitation for an efficient and portable water decontamination technology to achieve optimum water re-use for field operations by reducing contaminant levels in the wash, rinse and discharge streams of the mobile kitchen sanitation center. An effective approach is the use of ozone, a powerful oxidizing gas capable of broadly neutralizing harmful species in gaseous and aqueous forms. In particular, microplasma-based ozone generation technology can be adapted for portable water-purification and the removal of toxic contaminants. Microplasmas are attractive due to the high reactivity of the excited species. The primary components of the proposed system are a microplasma ozone generator and a multichannel gas-liquid micro-reactor for ozonolysis. The microplasma ozone generator has the potential for high conversion rates of air to ozone and the micro-reactor offers high mass transfer and reactivity for decontamination of wastewater with low power consumption in a compact and easily scalable modular design. The Phase I effort has demonstrated the effectiveness of ozone to provide the highly efficient and adaptable decontamination technology required by the Army and this proposal illustrates a roadmap for further development of the integrated system for a comprehensive solution for the Army"s needs.


Patent
KWJ Engineering, Inc. | Date: 2013-01-14

A printed gas sensor is disclosed. The sensor may include a porous substrate, an electrode layer, a liquid or gel electrolyte layer, and an encapsulation layer. The electrode layer comprises two or more electrodes that are formed on one side of the porous substrate. The liquid or gel electrolyte layer is in electrolytic contact with the two or more electrodes. The encapsulation layer encapsulates the electrode layer and electrolyte layer thereby forming an integrated structure with the porous substrate.

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