NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 S1.08-8855
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Surface & Sub-surface Measurement Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Novel Microfluidic Advances Enabling Autonomous, Long-Duration, Analysis of Nitrite/Nitrate

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Leiden Measurement Technology, LLC
773 East El Camino Real, #161
Sunnyvale, CA 94087 - 2919
(408) 351-6720

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Nathan Earl Bramall
773 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087 - 2919
(510) 301-8980

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Richard Quinn
773 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087 - 2919
(650) 691-8573

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Surface & Sub-surface Measurement Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
LMT proposes to develop two novel microfluidic innovations: (1) a novel long-path (250-mm), folded, on-chip absorption cell utilizing lock-in amplified detection to enable high colorimetric sensitivity; (2) a novel on-board system for mixing reagents and standards from dry chemical constituents to enable their in-situ preparation thereby enabling long-duration deployments where pre-mixed consumables would have otherwise degraded. These two innovations will enable the construction of the In-situ Nitrate/Nitrite Analyzer (INNA), a deployable microfluidic system for the continuous, autonomous, long-duration analysis of nitrate and nitrite in natural waters that will feature unprecedented sensitivity and autonomous deployment durations for this class of robust microfluidic system. INNA will be able to detect nitrate and nitrite down to single-digit nano-molar levels, making the instrument suitable for monitoring nutrients even in the oligotrophic open ocean where levels of these compounds can be below 10 nM. The system will rely upon the well-understood and widely-used colorimetric Griess assay for nitrite.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
INNA itself is highly-relevant to NASA research involving nutrient cycling in the oceans, such as the study of phytoplankton and carbon sequestration from the atmosphere as nitrate is often a limiting resource for the growth of autotrophs. Because INNA is being designed for high sensitivity and long-duration deployments, it is suitable for making an instrument network so global ocean nitrogen cycling could be studied, potentially informing upcoming missions such as the Aerosol/Cloud/Ecosystems (ACE) mission.
Additionally, the colorimetric approach taken with INNA, including the on-board of dry chemical reagents and standards, would allow for future incarnations of the instrument to be deployed on other planets, moons, or small bodies such as comets. The colorimetric approach can be easily adapted to study many other compounds, redox potentials, etc.
Additionally, the core technology being proposed for this SBIR could augment other existing NASA instrumentation, such as the highly-flexible PISCES microfluidic instrument, being developed by Peter Willis at JPL. The ability to mix dry chemicals in-situ will benefit all mission instruments which require liquid reagents and standards which would otherwise have a limited shelf life.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The robust nature of INNA, its projected compact size and low-power requirements coupled with its expected sensitivity and long-duration deployments allows it to be integrated into many different research platforms including ocean gliders, buoys, research vessels, autonomous underwater vehicles, underwater observatories, etc.

Because nitrate and aquatic nitrite are very important to measure for understanding the oceanic nitrogen cycle, it is a very important quantity to measure. Government agencies have recently been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on large-scale ocean observation networks, such as the Ocean Observatories Initiative. Many of the instruments being purchased for that research are designed to measure ocean chemistry which INNA and INNA-like instruments could measure, but with higher sensitivity than what is being utilized.

Additionally, any time there is a need to measure nitrate or nitrite with high resolution, INNA would be cost competitive. This includes healthcare where the measurement of nitrate and nitrite in plasma, urine and other bodily fluids is becoming recognized as important for a variety of reasons including assessment of the NO cycle in organs, markers for bacterial infections, and cardiac health.

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)
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Manufacturing Methods
Process Monitoring & Control
Processing Methods
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37