The anticipated initial market of the NM ChemFET sensors and arrays is for national or global ecosystem monitoring of water conditions for NASA earth science research activities, and also for the study of planetary ocean surface or subsurface for future planetary missions. An appreciation of the instrumentation issues obtained by working with such areas would allow improvements in sensor materials, electronics and packaging, and potentially allow the transition of related products to operational platforms. The commercialization potential of the NM sensor technology developed through this NASA SBIR program lies in three areas, namely 1) detect and map environmentally-hazardous chemical concentrations, 2) locate sources of pollution from analysis of concentration gradients, and 3) identify chemical concentrations potentially harmful to people and/or destructive to industry/agriculture.
Primary non-NASA customers would be university, government laboratory and industry researchers. Multiple such small-size and low-cost sensors could be distributed over an area to allow 1) spatial mapping of heavy metal targets, as well as 2) real-time updating of heavy metal concentration map as local conditions may change over time. The market for such wireless heavy metal sensor units would include federal government agencies involved in environmental monitoring and clean-up (DOE, EPA, DEQ), humanitarian aid organizations concerned about local water quality and agricultural productivity (Red Cross, NGOs), the public works departments of local and state governments, industries scrutinized for environmental compliance (mine owners, oil and gas exploration and production facilities, chemical plants), and federal military and security organizations (Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Homeland Security).