NASA STTR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 T5.01-9789
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Technologies for Planetary Compositional Analysis and Mapping
PROPOSAL TITLE: Substrate-Enhanced Micro Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry

NAME: Aerodyne Research, Inc. NAME: University of Massachusetts Amherst
STREET: 45 Manning Road STREET: Research Administration Bldg, 70 Butterfield Terrace
CITY: Billerica CITY: Amherst
STATE/ZIP: MA  01821 - 3976 STATE/ZIP: MA  01003 - 9242
PHONE: (978) 663-9500 PHONE: (413) 545-0698

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joda Wormhoudt
45 Manning Road
Billerica, MA 01821 - 3976
(978) 932-0229

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Aerodyne Research, Inc. and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will collaborate to develop laser desorption ionization (LDI) mass spectrometric analysis of organic analytes of interest in planetary exploration, based on microchip laser illumination. The key advantage of microchip lasers in this application is their much smaller size and weight than lasers used to date for LDI. These lasers have not been used because they have much smaller pulse energies than currently used LDI lasers. We propose to investigate the use of LDI substrates with special properties that include lowering the laser fluence required for LDI. Our Phase I candidate substrate will be gold nanoparticles coated with functionalized monolayers. Coated nanoparticles have been shown to have significant advantages in LDI applications, including selectivity of analyte adsorption, and enhancement of desorption via surface plasmon resonance (SPR) effects.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA's goals in astrobiology begin with characterizing extraterrestrial chemistry, particularly the presence of complex organic molecules and any molecular signs of life or indications of prebiotic chemistry. This has led to NASA interest in novel approaches that could help enable in situ organic compound analysis from a robot arm (such as ultra-miniaturized Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization Mass Spectrometry). The microchip lasers that are our focus in this proposal are far smaller than laser used in LDI instrumentation to date, and their small size will not only allow but require miniaturization of the entire apparatus.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
An example of a non-NASA application we would pursue if our intial work succeeded is bacteria identification, of key importance to DOD, DHS, and public health agencies with needs in identifying bacterial warfare agents, and infectious microorganisms involved in water contamination, food poisoning and infectious diseases. A technique such as that proposed here that led to a field-capable instrument should find initial adopters in DOD and DHS laboratories and in hospitals.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Biological Signature (i.e., Signs Of Life)
Lasers (Measuring/Sensing)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:44