A pocket-sized device for personal exposure level assessment! Abstract Detecting environmental toxicants is critical for better understanding of the relationship between chemical exposures and many diseases, and for more effective prevention of the related diseases. Due to large variations in the individuals'genetic susceptibility and environmental exposure level, an ideal detection tool must be miniaturized, affordable and personalized so that it can measure the toxicants in real time and within each individual's breathing zone. Except for a few selected analytes, the current approach is to collect air samples at a certain location and time, and transport the samples to a lab for detailed analysis using sophisticated but expensive and difficult-to-operate equipment, such as gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The goal of the present project is to address the above need by introducing a new sensor technology, focusing on harmful analytes, such as carcinogens, which are important but currently not covered by any of the existing portable devices. The sensor technology is based on an innovative hybrid principle that combines intelligent sampling and separation mechanisms with a sensitive microfabricated quartz tuning fork array and selective molecular imprinted polymer sensing materials to achieve high specificity and high sensitivity with a miniaturized device. The device is pocket-sized and contains a Bluetooth chip that communicates wirelessly with cell phones or other Bluetooth-enabled devices. The new technology will provide unprecedented high temporal and high spatial resolutions for personal environmental exposure monitoring, which will benefit a large environmental health research community, support ongoing and future large-scale population studies, and impact on industrial and occupational safety and environmental monitoring. The team will develop, build and test the device in phase I. They will validate it with established collaborations, including epidemiologists, industry hygienists, occupational safety professionals and environmental scientists, and prepare for production of the device in phase II.

Public Health Relevance

A low cost and miniaturized hybrid device will be developed to detect, quantify, and identify toxic volatile chemical compounds. A particular focus of the device is to provide otherwise unavailable high quality chemical exposure information. The goal of the project is to develop, test, validate and produce an unprecedented tool to advance environmental health studies in both indoor and outdoor settings.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMST-M (13))
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Shaughnessy, Daniel
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Tf Sensors, LLC
United States
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Deng, Yue; Liu, Nai-Yuan; Tsow, Francis et al. (2017) Adsorption Thermodynamic Analysis of a Quartz Tuning Fork Based Sensor for Volatile Organic Compounds Detection. ACS Sens 2:1662-1668
Deng, Yue; Chen, Cheng; Xian, Xiaojun et al. (2016) A Novel Wireless Wearable Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Monitoring Device with Disposable Sensors. Sensors (Basel) 16: