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System for Sampling Single Particles in a Gaseous Environment

The US Army Research Lab seeks a partner to commercialize a novel integrated opto-aerodynamic system that traps airborne micron-size particles from continuous sampling

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Overview of the Technology: (A) Optical trapping apparatus. (b) Calculated intensity profile near the focal spot plotted on a log-scale. (c) Image of the conical focal region produced inside the chamber. (d) Image of a spore trapped in air near the focal point.
Overview of the Technology: (A) Optical trapping apparatus. (b) Calculated intensity profile near the focal spot plotted on a log-scale. (c) Image of the conical focal region produced inside the chamber. (d) Image of a spore trapped in air near the focal
The Technology: 

Property measurements of single particles trapped in air have been made since the pioneering work on electro-static levitation, and later on by optical trapping. However, most of the existing trapping technologies work for only one kind of particle and also hardly capture particles from continuous sampling. These techniques have been used to measure single-particle Raman spectra. Generally, Raman measurements need a long signal integration time and can be difficult to perform on individual particles. Furthermore, trapping particles helps real-time observation of dynamic phenomena. .

The Army Research Lab developed and patented an innovative optical trapping system that overcomes the above problems, as it affords the opportunity to capture and trap particles that have different properties. The system can continuously capture successively arriving aerosol particles, trap them, and measure their properties, such as using Raman spectra, as long as needed.

The ARL optical trapping provides the capability of on-site measurements for air quality characterization of different kinds of individual particles from atmosphere, pharmaceutical or other production facilities.

Potential commercial uses include:
(1) On-line aerosol characterization instrumentation
(2) On-line material characterization
(3) Pharmaceutical testing and delivery
(4) Single aerosol particle spectroscopic sampling

Benefits: 

Enhanced Spectroscopy: Rapid detection and characterization of aerosolized chem- and bio-agents

Measure Single Particles: The particle may be held for as long as needed, and released in order to trap the next one

The Opportunity: 

US Patent Number 9,448,155 is available for license

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