NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- H3.03-9517 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 022482 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spaceport/Range Instrumentation and Control Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Hybrid Data System and Ion Detector for TOF Mass Spectrometry

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
2472 Bolsover Suite 255
Houston , TX   77005 - 2537
(713 ) 522 - 9880

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
William Burton
2472 Bolsover Suite 255
Houston , TX   77005 - 2537
(713 ) 522 - 9880

Previous phase II work has resulted in a compact Time-of-Flight mass spectrometer developed for sensitive detection of hydrogen and oxygen leaks prior to and during the few seconds after engine start and before launch of the space shuttle. The main challenges for this application--sensitivity, accuracy, dynamic range, response time, and ruggedness--have been met in the current prototype. The sensitivity and utility of the TOF is now principally limited by the saturation of the Micro-channel-plate detector, which can handle only a few million counts per second. An approach to overcome this limitation using a new type of data system in conjunction with a combined microchannelplate/discreet ion multiplier is the subject of this phase I.
We propose to increase the dynamic range of time of flight mass spectrometry by creating a data acquisition and detector system that simultaneously performs analog and multianode single ion pulse-counting time-of-flight measurements to inrease the dynamic range of a time to digital converter (TDC) for the cases when a mass peak comprises more than one ion arriving simultaneously the detector.

The proposed hybrid data system and ion detector would be well suited for commercial mass-spectrometry instruments requiring both sensitivity to single ions and wide dynamic range for processing high ion flux mass peaks without distortion. Such requirements will soon become commonplace in analysis of chemical, biological, and environmental samples as the optimization of mass?spectrometer instrument designs continues. These instruments include combined Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometers (GC/MS), MALDI, and Electrospray mass-spectrometers.

This hybrid data system and hybrid ion detector would provide significant improvements in the performance, operating life, and operational simplicity of the existing Time-of-Flight mass-spectrometer for leak detection and enable use of the instrument in a broader range of chemical detection, quantitation, and monitoring applications. Performance would be improved by increasing measurement dynamic range. The operating life of the instrument would be increased through simplification of the ion detector; and operational simplification would be achieved by reducing the amount of control electronics needed. The smaller form-factor of the data system would simplify mass-spectrometer use in a non-laboratory environment.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10