Analyzing trace gases at part per billion levels by rapid gas phase cooling
Trace gas analysis
Offered here is a system for analyzing complex trace gas mixtures accurately and efficiently. Applications include:
• Process control,
• Environmental testing
• Fundamental science/laboratory work
Specific examples include  analyzing compounds in human breath, used as are markers of health risks, cancer, and environmental hazards.  analyzing human blood and urine to detect for any of hundreds of biologically important hormones; and so forth. or  analyzing organic amines and carboxylic acids present in nanomolar concentrations in seawater to provide a quantitative measure of marine ecosystem metabolic cycles.
Innovations and Advantages
This invention realizes a new idea of using buffer gas to rapidly cool small gas molecules to very low temperatures (<10K), so that the characteristic features of the gas molecules in their spectra are substantially narrowed and well separated. The cooling method rapidly “quenches” the analyte gas molecules while still in gas phase. This technique allows one to accurately identify and quantifying samples using modern spectroscopic methods. The technique should allow one to resolve mixtures with up to 10,000 components at part per billion levels and beyond. To analyze the composition of a gas mixture, this technology provides a substantial improvement in specificity and sensitivity over current state of the art gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).
Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) pending
Doyle, John M.
Patterson, David S.
For further information, please contact:
Mick Sawka, Director of Business Development
Reference Harvard Case #3760