NASA STTR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 T8.01-9980
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Technologies for Planetary Compositional Analysis and Mapping
PROPOSAL TITLE: Ambient Desorption, Ionization, and Extraction Source for Mars Exploration

NAME: Trace Matters Scientific LLC NAME: Rice University
STREET: 2204 Bagby Street #3313 STREET: 6100 Main St
CITY: Houston CITY: Houston
STATE/ZIP: TX  77002 - 7700 STATE/ZIP: TX  77005 - 1827
PHONE: (571) 438-0970 PHONE: (713) 348-0000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Prof Aydin Babakhani
6100 Main St
Houston, TX 77005 - 1827
(713) 348-0921

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Mazdak Taghioskoui
2204 Bagby Street #3313
Houston, TX 77002 - 7700
(571) 438-0970

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Technologies for Planetary Compositional Analysis and Mapping 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)
Trace Matters Scientific LLC proposes to design, develop, and prototype a miniature ambient desorption, ionization, and extraction source (MADIE) as a compact all-in-one instrument for operation under the ambient Martian environment to sequentially desorb, ionize, and extract analytes from Martian samples. The MADIE will enable in situ interrogation of the Martian mineralogical samples with no sample preparation and/or separation when coupled to a mass spectrometer. At the core of the proposed MADIE will be a self-tuning plasma ionization module for sample ionization, consisting of an ambient carbon dioxide plasma source and a tuning circuit; an ion funnel module for efficient ion extraction; and a laser diode module for time-resolved sample desorption.
The ambient plasma source will utilize the Martian atmosphere, which is mainly composed of carbon dioxide, to form a reduced-pressure carbon dioxide inductively coupled plasma (ICP) to ionize the plume of sampled analytes. The tuning circuit will compensate any plasma variation and maintain the plasma source at resonance during operation. The ion funnel module, which will be derived by a radio frequency power supply, will efficiently extract the ions and guide them into the mass spectrometer to increase sensitivity. The laser diode module will produce a plume of sample analytes from the sample surface with high spatial resolution at both ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) wavelengths.
During phase I, the self-tuning plasma ionization module will be designed and constructed, and the ion funnel will be designed and simulated with SIMION and then prototyped. Commercially-available laser modules at various wavelengths will be selected and experimentally validated. These modules will then be pieced together to develop a breadboard prototype of the MADIE by the conclusion of phase I. Preliminary experiments will be conducted to test the efficiency of the MADIE.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to the primary application for in-situ solid sample analysis, the proposed technology may be used for: 1) Atmospheric Chemical Analysis: The MADIE can be retrofitted to miniature mass spectrometers for atmospheric measurements without the laser module; 2) Biological Sample Analysis in Reduced Pressure: The MADIE can be used to for imaging of biological tissues that are placed in low-pressure chamber with a variety of plasma gases, 3) Air Quality Monitoring During Manned Missions: The proposed technology may be used as an ambient ionization source that can be deployed with on-board mass spectrometers for air quality monitoring; 4) Breath Analysis: The technology may be utilized with miniature mass spectrometers for performing breath analysis; 5) Optical Emission Spectroscopy: The MADIE can be used in combination with optical emission spectroscopy systems to study the emission spectra of various gaseous molecules; and 5) Plasma Treatment: The proposed technology may provide an efficient sterilization method that can be used on a robotic arm to treat small desired surfaces, for example, for sterilization or changing surface chemistry.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed technology may be utilized in a wide range of government and industrial applications. 1) Government Applications: Instruments for fast, real-time and accurate sample analysis has widespread applications in many U.S. government programs. For example, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all need field deployable systems for fast and accurate detection of explosives, drug molecules, pesticides, toxics chemicals and atmospheric species. 2) Industrial Applications: The proposed technology may be used in various industrial application as a reduced-pressure sample interrogation platform when combined with a mass spectrometer. For example, pharmaceutical and food industries need instruments for quality/contamination control.

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)
Analytical Methods
Biological Signature (i.e., Signs Of Life)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:45