The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will benefit manufacturers of residual gas analyzers, mass spectrometers, ion-mobility spectrometers, time-of-flight spectrometers and related instruments. Implementation of these sensors will increase the revenue, revenue streams and market share of commercial manufacturers of mass spectrometers by significantly lowering production cost, and by enabling penetration into new markets that require increased sensitivity, lowered size, weight, power consumption, and instrument complexity. The product, if successful, will lead to analytical tools that can substantially benefit the needs of education/research, space, bio/health, agricultural, defense and security markets.
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop nanotechnology-based chip-scale ion sensors with ultra-high intrinsic charge-to-current amplification factors. This patent-pending technology allows semiconductor-processable miniaturization and scalability, sub-microwatt intrinsic power draw, and robust ambient-pressure-agnostic operation. With reduced size, weight, and power requirements, increased sensitivity and dynamic range, these sensors can potentially replace expensive, bulky, and/or high-power-consuming charged particle detectors such as microchannel plates, Daly detectors, electron-multiplier tubes and Faraday cups. The ability to operate under any ambient pressure and distinguish charge polarity can significantly enhance field-portability, turnkey operations, and enhance analytical reach of ion-sensing-based applications. Specifically, the proposed research will seek to overcome the challenges related to generation of high signal responses (by enhancing the electronic transport parameters), high ion-sensor interaction (by optimizing sensor design), and lower readout noise (by optimizing materials and design).
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.