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Bangor, ME, United States

Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office for Chemical and Biological Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2011

The goal of this Phase I project is to develop coatings for M8 paper that improve its robustness and rate of detection of potential liquid/aerosol chemical warfare attack at fixed military sites and installations. A problem that is currently experienced with M8 paper is that it is easily contaminated by dust or destroyed by rain and thus requires frequent replacement in outdoor environments. Our initial studies have shown that, while commercially available M8 paper does posses minimal water repellant characteristics, droplets of water stick to the paper"s surface and penetrate into the paper over time, ultimately degrading its performance for CW detection. OSS will develop coatings that eliminate this issue by allowing water droplets to roll off the surface. Specifically, we will modify COTS M8 paper with ultrathin superhydrophobic and oleophilic material coatings that provide a self-cleaning and waterproof surface while retaining the M8 paper"s ability to detect CW agents. The results of phase I work will lead to a technology downselect for the best coating package for scale-up activities. Phase II work will focus on integrating the optimized M8 paper with a self-reporting system to reduce and/or eliminate visual inspection of the M8 detection strips.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2011

The overall goal of this Phase II project is to develop a prototype micro-fluidic sampling system that will lead to a field-deployable detection system capable of detecting low ppb levels of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and explosive precursors in water. The proposed work will capitalize on Phase I successes in which the feasibility of using an infrared-based micro-fluidic sampling system was demonstrated against a CWA simulant. Micro-fluidic devices were fabricated from IR-grade silicon wafers and coated with absorptive silica sol-gel films for agent retention, and the concentrated agent was detected and analyzed via transmission FTIR spectroscopy directly through the micro-fluidic device. The novelty of this approach for CWA detection is that, unlike traditional solid phase extraction (SPE) techniques which require an elution step to analyze the collected agent, the proposed micro-fluidic sampling system incorporates SPE concentration capabilities onto a platform that is suitable for direct analysis and easy integration with an infrared-based detection system. The outcome of this two year effort will lead to the development of multiple microfluidic arrays packaged onto a single chip for multi-agent collection and detection.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2010

The goal of this Phase I proposal is to develop a synthetic, low cost, and benign simulant for biowarfare agents (BWA) to be used in the testing of standoff sensors. Orono Spectral Solutions Inc. (OSS) has performed preliminary work leading to the identification of benign ingredients that, when combined in a predefined mass ratio, mimic UV-Vis and infrared signatures of BG spores. This work was performed under an existing contract (DoD contract # W911SR-06-C-0035). The objective of future investigation is to expand upon this work to 1) complete the development of a material package for a BG spore simulant, 2) develop similar material packages that mimic the same signatures of Erwinia herbicola and MS2 bateriophage and 3) develop a method for creating micron sized particles using the ingredients identified for our existing BG simulant.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2010

The overall goal of this Phase I project is to demonstrate the feasibility of an infrared transparent, micro-fluidic sampling system that will lead to a field-deployable detection system capable of detecting low ppb levels of chemical warfare (CW) agents in water. To accomplish this goal, the proposed detection system will combine high surface area, organically modified mesoporous oxide absorptive materials that are coated within a micro-fluidic sampling system for CW agent collection and concentration. Detection and identification of the concentrated CW agent will be accomplished by direct analysis of the micro-fluidic device via Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). The main advantages of this approach are that it can operate in heterogeneous aqueous environments and will provide fast detection (< 10 min) and high sensitivity/selectivity to nonvolatile CW agents with minimal false alarms.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office for Chemical and Biological Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 70.00K | Year: 2009

The objective of this Phase I proposal is to perform a theoretical exploration of the fundamental and practical limits of detection by fluctuation enhanced sensing and statistical inference based sensing methods when applied to an electrostatic-based trigger for non-fluorescent biological warfare threats. To enable < 1000 ACPLA detection levels of bacterial spores in real-time, these statistical methods will be applied to electrometer noise patterns when particle concentrations produce electric currents that are at or below the characteristic signal-to-noise level of the electrometer. The proposed hardware design for the electrostatic trigger is based upon the Faraday cup electrometer design for detecting ionized/unipolar charged aerosol particles. The electrostatic trigger will be a modification of an existing electrostatic precipitator detection system that is currently being developed. To facilitate low detection levels of bacterial spores beyond conventional Faraday cup designs, a novel corona pre-charge section will be incorporated within the trigger. The corona pre-charge section will maximize the amount of imparted charge per spore, thereby resulting in the largest possible electric currents produced per spore as measured by the collector cup.

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