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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Polymer Nanowire-Based Reversible, and Quasi Real-Time, Ethylene Analyzer

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

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As called out in the NASA Technical Roadmap (TA7), in-orbit or deep space-based plant growth systems are of interest to NASA as part of fundamental space research and for ensuring supply of fresh produce to the crew for sustainable human spaceflight. Ethylene gas is a natural plant metabolite and phytohormone. In enclosed spaceship settings, ethylene build-up can be deleterious to plants. Thus, there is a need to monitor ethylene in real-time, sensitively, reversibly and effectively. State of the art technology is limited in terms of portability and ability for in-situ measurements with desired selectivity and sensitivity. To close this technology gap, InnoSense LLC (ISL) will continue developing a space-compatible, Polymer Nanowire based ethylene Monitor or PNet-Mon (TM). In Phase I, ISL fabricated a compact breadboard PNet-Mon device that demonstrated response to ppb levels of ethylene with immunity to interfering metabolites. In Phase II, ISL will optimize fabrication of the reversible sensor, develop prototype hardware having NASA-relevant footprint. The PNet-Mon prototype will be evaluated rigorously first under laboratory conditions. We have teamed with a prime contractor for testing the prototype in Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) system with the goal of integrating PNet-Mon with APH system for delivery to NASA. More »

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