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µChemLab: twenty years of developing CBRNE detection systems with low false alarm rates
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Paper Abstract

Gas Chromatography (GC) is routinely used in the laboratory to temporally separate chemical mixtures into their constituent components for improved chemical identification. This paper will provide a overview of more than twenty years of development of one-dimensional field-portable micro GC systems, highlighting key experimental results that illustrate how a reduction in false alarm rate (FAR) is achieved in real-world environments. Significantly, we will also present recent results on a micro two-dimensional GC (micro GCxGC) technology. This ultra-small system consists of microfabricated columns, NanoElectroMechanical System (NEMS) cantilever resonators for detection, and a valve-based stop-flow modulator. The separation of a 29-component polar mixture in less than 7 seconds is demonstrated along with peak widths in the second dimension ranging from 10-60 ms. For this system, a peak capacity of just over 300 was calculated for separation in about 6 s. This work has important implications for field detection, to drastically reduce FAR and significantly improve chemical selectivity and identification. This separation performance was demonstrated with the NEMS resonator and bench scale FID. But other detectors, suitably fast and sensitive can work as well. Recent research has shown that the identification power of GCxGC-FID can match that of GC-MS. This result indicates a path to improved size, weight, power, and performance in micro GCxGC systems outfitted with relatively non-specific, lightweight detectors. We will briefly discuss the performance of possible options, such as the pulsed discharge helium ionization detector (PDHID) and miniature correlation ion mobility spectrometer (mini-CIMS).

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 May 2019
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 11010, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XX, 1101012 (17 May 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2518778
Show Author Affiliations
Joshua J. Whiting, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Edward B. Myers, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Ronald P. Manginell, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Matthew W. Moorman, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Kent Pfeifer, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
John M. Anderson, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Cory S. Fix, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Cody Washburn, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Alan Staton, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Daniel Porter, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Darin Graf, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
David R. Wheeler, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
John Richards, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Komandoor E. Achuythan , Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Michael Roukes, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Robert J. Simonson, Sandia National Labs. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11010:
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XX
Jason A. Guicheteau; Chris R. Howle, Editor(s)

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