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Pathogen Detection using a Flexible Substrate Sensor System

It is often necessary to detect low concentrations of multiple chemicals, biological and/or physiological substances in fluid systems.  This is where flexible electronic technologies have an important advantage over conventional electronics built on rigid substrates. Our sensor system is flexible; therefore it can be embedded into a sheet, strip, cylinder, coil or spiral shape.  The combination of the number of sensors and the ability to conform to almost any geometric configuration are unique features which allow large volumes of fluids, liquids, gases or solids to be sampled at high sensitivity.  Until now, it has also been very difficult to produce multiple results.  Our array can be multiplexed with respect to the number of sensors detecting a specific analyte and the number of analytes being detected.

Current systems have to either sacrifice sensitivity to sample a large volume or sample a much smaller volume at the required sensitivity.  The result is that it is either too low to detect the analyte at the required level or the smaller volume is not representative of the larger volume.  It is therefore, either too expensive, too time consuming or impossible to perform the analysis.  It has also been very difficult for present systems to transmit information.  Our approach solves these long standing problems with both onboard and external devices transmitting signals in real-time via a wireless network.  The network can control the readout of the array as well as optimize its operation and lifetime.  These novel enhancements include initiating sensor cleaning and sleep cycles as well as changing readout sequences to optimizing detection of any analyte or subset of analytes.

Applications

  • Municipal systems i.e. water supply linings, wastewater systems and landfills
    • Oil and gas pipelines
    • Buildings, roads and bridges
    • Capable in a multitude of environmental and infrastructure applications depending on shape
      • In a sheet – to line landfills
      • In a strip   – for wick drains to monitor groundwater and subsurface contaminants
      • In a cylindrical arrangement – lining pipelines and conduits, including inversion lining procedure for facilities already in place
      • In a strip and cylindrical shape arrangements – in drilling and for exploration tools in oil wells and in the mining industry
    • Measurable characteristics of interest
      • pH, ionic strength, temperature, electrical impedance, turbidity, stress, strain, flexure, vibration, non-vibratory motion, acoustics and corrosion.

Advantages

  • High sensitivity with very large volume and area samples
  • Monitoring with real-time data processing
  • Conforms to the specific geometry of the measured environment
  • Onboard and/or external analysis device
  • Data exfiltration network automatically adjusts to the dimensions of the substrate
  • Modular and inexpensive to manufacture

Licensing Potential

HRI is seeking commercial partners to license this technology.  USPTO no. 8,701,469

Inventors

Thomas O’Rourke, B. Eng., Ph.D.
Stephen Wicker, B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., Ph.D.
Michael Spencer, B.S.E.E, M. Eng., Ph.D.
Christopher Ober, BSc, M.S., Ph.D.
James Turner, B. Eng., Ph.D.

Contact

Diane L. Borghoff, B.S., M.S.
Marketing & Licensing Associate – Intellectual Property
Health Research, Inc. – 150 Broadway – Suite 560, Menands, New York 12204-2719 U.S.A.
Phone 518-431-1213  Fax 518-431-1234
E-mail:  diane.borghoff@healthresearch.org  Website:  www.healthresearch.org