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SBIR/STTR

Miniaturized MEMS-Based Gas Chromatograph for High Inertial Loads Associated with Planetary Missions, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

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Miniaturized MEMS-Based Gas Chromatograph for High Inertial Loads Associated with Planetary Missions, Phase I
Thorleaf Research, Inc. proposes to develop a rugged, miniaturized, low power MEMS-based gas chromatograph (GC) capable of handling the high inertial loads encountered during planetary missions. This will provide key enabling technology for mission planners, especially where hard landers or penetrators may be required to meet science objectives within challenging mass, volume and power constraints. Our innovative approach employs high strength inert materials to provide a direct interface between components such as a MEMS-GC injector chip, valves and GC column. This eliminates fittings and tubing connections to greatly enhance robustness, improve system inertness and reduce mass. We believe it will be possible to develop the miniaturized GC system at a mass of about 200 grams, with an average power consumption of less than 50 mW for isothermal operation. Our use of a modular design approach will make it possible to interface the proposed miniaturized GC to miniature mass spectrometers, ion mobility spectrometers, or other detectors of interest to NASA. The goal of our proposed SBIR Phase 1 effort is to demonstrate feasibility for a miniaturized, high inertial load MEMS-based gas chromatograph, and to develop a detailed design for fabricating and demonstrating prototype instrumentation in Phase 2. More »

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