NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- B4.02-7759 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 024240 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Space Commercialization
PROPOSAL TITLE: Compact Biological Aerosol Fluorescence Detection System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nanohmics, LLC
4302 Rimdale Dr
Austin , TX   78731 - 1222
(512 ) 415 - 8748

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Steve Savoy
4302 Rimdale Dr
Austin , TX   78731 - 1222
(512 ) 349 - 0835

Nanohmics, LLC proposes to develop a compact fluorescence particle counter, biological aerosol detection system. The prototype instrument will combine fluorescence discrimination with aerosol counting techniques to provide a reliable warning of potential increase in biological particles inside spacecraft or space station crew environment. The proposed instrument is based on an innovative measurement strategy where all aerosol particles would be sampled but only suspicious particles interrogated by a UV/blue laser to measure fluorescence. An advantage of this conditional sampling strategy is that NASA personnel will be able to make measurements on a particle-by-particle basis to determine whether aerosols contain biological material. The result is that a small concentration of biological aerosols mixed with an abundance of non-biological particles can be detected. The instrument will exploit the autofluorescence of certain molecules contained in biological material and the size of particles to distinguish potentially harmful airborne bacteria from background aerosols. Particles detected as potential biological particles can then be collected in reagent buffer for further processing in analytical instruments for positive identification. The instrument developed in the Phase II program will support NASA's goal of developing an instrument to monitor the air quality of the spacecraft environment.

The instrument developed in this program will identify and monitor the amount of airborne contaminants around municipal solid waste recycling and composting plants; monitor and track bioaerosols in health care facilities; monitor and evaluate the bioaerosol content in structures that have little recirculation with outdoor air; monitor the concentration and source of bioaerosols in a variety of indoor industrial environments; determine the amount of bio-pesticide that is outside of crop areas; and monitor the effluents from suspect biological warfare agent production facilities for treaty verification and compliance.

A real-time method for characterizing bioaerosols does not presently exist. The instrument would support NASA's Earth Science Enterprise program by developing an instrument for characterizing bioaerosols in the earth's atmosphere. This instrument would also support NASA's mission for a permanent presence of man in space by continuously monitoring air quality to protect crew health. Aspects of this instrument would be utilized on space probes to assess acceptability of unknown environments for human habitation.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10