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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Penetrator-Compatible Microfluidic Analyzer For Lipids, Amino Acid Chirality, and pH, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

HJ Science & Technology (HJS&T) and Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) propose to develop a novel penetrator-compatible technology capable of detecting key organic molecules, biomarkers, and indicators of habitability on primary astrobiological targets including icy moons like Europa and Enceladus. The proposed innovation is a novel combination of microfluidic automated colorimetric and fluorometric assays and a miniaturized integrated system of hydraulic microvalve and optical detection module. By leveraging hardware of the Small Body / Icy Moons Planetary Organic Analyzer currently under development at GIT combined with unique microfluidic automation innovations at HJS&T, the proposed STTR effort will expand the current detection capability to include lipids, chiral analysis of amino acids and pH measurement. The entire instrument package is small and robust enough to be compatible with multiple mission concepts, including the stringent volume, mass, and robustness requirements of a high-velocity kinetic impactor platform. In Phase I, scientists at HJ&T will develop microfluidic automation procedures of detecting chiral amino acids, lipids, and pH measurement with the pneumatic microvalve device and bench-top optical systems. Scientists at GIT will develop the hydraulic microvalve devices and the monolithically integrated optical system. The microfluidic automation procedures developed at HJS&T will then be transferred to GIT and adapted to the hydraulic microvalve and monolithic optical system format including testing with real samples. More »

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