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A Compact Fluorescence Lifetime Excitation-Emission Spectrometer (FLEXEMS) for Detecting Trace Organics, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

In this Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) effort, Leiden Measurement Technology (LMT) proposes to design and build the Fluorescence Lifetime Excitation Emission Spectrometer (FLEXEMS), a stand-off fluorescence spectrometer that uses multiple light-emitting diodes to excite fluorescence in samples from the deep-ultraviolet through the visible and employs time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) and steady-state photon-counting techniques to quantify the fluorescence properties of the target in order to detect and identify trace levels of organics in-situ. The addition of fluorescence lifetime measurements distinguishes it from other compact, field-portable instruments available. The instrument will require no reagents or consumables and by simply placing the instrument on a sample of rock, soil, or ice, or other material it will be able to detect a wide range of organics (at or below the 10-100 ppb-level) including free aromatic amino acids; biomarkers including F420 (specific to methanogens), NADH, and proteins; PAHs; and porphyrins (e.g. chlorophyll). It will be designed with flight in mind so that mass, volume, and power-usage will be minimized as much as possible. The use of multi-anode photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and/or avalanche photodiodes (APDs) will make the system compact and rugged and thus suitable for future missions and ongoing field and laboratory studies. More »

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