This PFI: AIR Technology Translation project focuses on translating smart multi-channel multi-dimensional micro-gas chromatography (MC-MD micro-GC) technology to fill portable and rapid vapor analysis gap. The translated smart MC-MD micro-GC has the following distinct advantages when compared with conventional 1-dimensional micro-GC or comprehensive 2-D micro-GC in the market or under development in labs. (1) It has unprecedented peak capacity and peak capacity efficiency while remaining portable, which arise from the long high-dimensional separation afforded by the smart GC design; (2) It can be scaled up to higher dimensional separation (such as 3-D or 4-D micro-GC) easily; (3) It does not require complicated thermal modulators widely used in comprehensive 2-D GC systems, thus substantially simplifying the GC design, fabrication, and power consumption; (4) Construction of the multi-dimensional (not only 2-D but also higher dimensional) chromatogram becomes straightforward by reading the retention time of each analyte directly from the vapor detector installed at the end of the each separation column; and (5) the detection limit is improved 3-10 fold, since the entire analyte is sent to the downstream column, rather than just a slice of it as in the conventional comprehensive 2-D GC. The project accomplishes this goal by prototyping a fully functional 1x2x4-channel smart 3-D micro-GC, which will include the following tasks: (1) assembly of all micro-GC components, (2) development of the corresponding operation/analysis algorithm, (3) performance evaluation using 100 vapor analytes, (4) assessment of market potential and commercialization feasibility, and (5) technical and entrepreneurial training of under/graduate students and post-doctors. The potential economic impact is expected to be a few billion US dollars in the next ten years which will contribute to the U.S. competitiveness in fields as diverse as agricultural and food industry, winery, environment monitoring/protection, healthcare, and homeland security/battlefield. Broader impact: Smart 3-D micro-GC has unprecedented peak capacity, easy operation, and simple 3-D chromatogram construction and thus will have a broad range of applications in environmental monitoring, homeland security, battlefield, industries, and healthcare. The students and the post-doctor will receive rigorous technical and entrepreneurial training and mentoring. Additionally, the team will work closely with the Master of Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Michigan to assess the market opportunities and viability of smart 3-D micro-GC. Dissemination of knowledge will include journal publications, conference presentations, patent filing, public seminars, and demonstration of the prototype at the science/technology exhibits in the Detroit area.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Barbara H. Kenny
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Regents of the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor
United States
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