Research and Development of Non-Spectroscopic MEMS-Based Sensor Arrays for Targeted Gas Detection

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The ability to monitor the integrity of gas volumes is of interest to the stockpile surveillance community. Specifically, the leak detection of noble gases, at relevant concentration ranges and distinguished from other chemical species that may be simultaneously present, is particularly challenging. Aside from the laboratory-based method of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), where samples may be collected by solid-phase microextraction (SPME) or cryofocusing, the other major approaches for gas-phase detection employ lasers typically operating in the mid-infrared wavelength region. While mass spectrometry can readily detect noble gases - the helium leak detector is an obvious example - laser-based methods such ... continued below

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Loui, A & McCall, S K October 24, 2011.

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The ability to monitor the integrity of gas volumes is of interest to the stockpile surveillance community. Specifically, the leak detection of noble gases, at relevant concentration ranges and distinguished from other chemical species that may be simultaneously present, is particularly challenging. Aside from the laboratory-based method of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), where samples may be collected by solid-phase microextraction (SPME) or cryofocusing, the other major approaches for gas-phase detection employ lasers typically operating in the mid-infrared wavelength region. While mass spectrometry can readily detect noble gases - the helium leak detector is an obvious example - laser-based methods such as infrared (IR) or Raman spectroscopy are completely insensitive to them as their monatomic nature precludes a non-zero dipole moment or changes in polarizability upon excitation. Therefore, noble gases can only be detected by one of two methods: (1) atomic emission spectroscopies which require the generation of plasmas through laser-induced breakdown, electrical arcing, or similar means; (2) non-spectroscopic methods which measure one or more physical properties (e.g., mass, thermal conductivity, density). In this report, we present our progress during Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) in the research and development of a non-spectroscopic method for noble gas detection. During Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10), we demonstrated via proof-of-concept experiments that the combination of thermal conductivity detection (TCD) and coating-free damped resonance detection (CFDRD) using micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) could provide selective sensing of these inert species. Since the MEMS-based TCD technology was directly adapted from a brassboard prototype commissioned by a previous chemical sensing project, FY11 efforts focused on advancing the state of the newer CFDRD method. This work, guided by observations previously reported in the open literature, has not only resulted in a substantially measureable increase in selectivity but has also revealed a potential method for mitigating or eliminating thermal drift that does not require a secondary reference sensor. The design of an apparatus to test this drift compensation scheme will be described. We will conclude this report with a discussion of planned efforts in Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12).

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PDF-file: 50 pages; size: 6.3 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: LLNL-TR-509016
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/1035279 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1035279
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc836022

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 24, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 1, 2016, 4:28 p.m.

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Loui, A & McCall, S K. Research and Development of Non-Spectroscopic MEMS-Based Sensor Arrays for Targeted Gas Detection, report, October 24, 2011; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc836022/: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.