Miniaturized GC

March 12, 2012

The Column

The Column, The Column-03-07-2012, Volume 8, Issue 4
Page Number: 6

Miniaturized gas chromatography (GC) technology has matured further by the development of arrays of nanoelectromechanical sensors (NEMS) on a large scale.

Miniaturized gas chromatography (GC) technology has matured further by the development of arrays of nanoelectromechanical sensors (NEMS) on a large scale.1

A group at the California Institute of Technology has worked with researchers at Minatec in Grenoble, France, to produce the arrays, which comprise thousands of individual nanoresonators with densities of up to 6 million NEMS cm2. The individual devices are electrically coupled using a combined series-parallel configuration that is very robust. They are also able to handle extremely high input powers without excessive heating or deterioration of resonance response. The team were able to demonstrate the performance of the arrays as a high-performance chemical vapour sensor and could detect 1 ppb of a chemical warfare simulant, diisopropyl methylphosphonate, within a 2 s exposure period.

This technology offers the advantage of portability and could potentially lead to a gas chromatograph–mass spectrometer on a chip.

1 M.L. Roukes et al., Nano Lett., DOI: 10.1021/nl2037479 (2012).

This story originally appeared in The Column. Click here to view that issue.

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