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Biological Sciences Division
Staff Awards & Honors

July 2010

PNNL Scientists Win R&D 100 Awards for Biology, Environment Technologies

Ion Mobility Spectrometer on a Microchip and IncubATR™—the Live-Cell Monitor

Congratulations to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists Alexandre Shvartsburg, Keqi Tang, Richard (Dick) Smith, Tom Weber, and Colette Sacksteder for winning 2010 R&D 100 Awards from R&D Magazine for two of the top high-technology products of the year. PNNL received a total of four awards this year. See the PNNL news release.

Shvartsburg, Tang, and Smith are developers, with Owlstone Nanotech, of the Ion Mobility Spectrometer on a Microchip. This miniaturized device accelerates the speed of analyses by >100 times using ion mobility separations (IMS), enabling capabilities for rapidly and confidently monitoring a broad range of chemicals at very low concentrations. The device capitalizes on leading-edge nanofabrication techniques at Owlstone and the latest developments in Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer (FAIMS) at PNNL. It employs a scalable multichannel architecture for high-speed separations of ions in the gas phase that allows fast, unbiased sample analysis with extremely high sensitivity and broad dynamic range.


Figure 1: The IncubATR™-the Live-Cell Monitor works specifically with widely available and operationally affordable attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, enabling real-time, in situ screening of live-cell responses to physical, chemical, or biological stimuli and removing the limitations posed by traditional live-cell testing methods. Enlarge Image
Figure 2: The Ion Mobility Spectrometer on a Microchip is a miniaturized (dime-sized) device that accelerates the speed of analyses using ion mobility separations (IMS) by more than a hundredfold. This dramatic increase in speed enables previously unavailable capabilities for rapidly and confidently monitoring a broad range of chemicals at very low concentrations. The device can be used by itself, coupled to mass spectrometry, or integrated into other systems for applications such as from security, defense, and environmental control; food safety; pharmaceutical and petrochemicals; and fundamental biological research. Enlarge Image

Sacksteder and Weber were on the development team for IncubATR™—the Live-Cell Monitor along with lead developer SK Sundaram and Brian Riley of PNNL’s Energy and Environment Directorate. Developed in cooperation with Simplex Scientific LL, the IncubATR™ works with existing spectroscopy devices to pioneer real-time, in situ screening of live-cell responses to physical, chemical, or biological stimuli and removing the limitations posed by traditional live-cell testing methods.

Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards, also called “the Oscars of Innovation,” have identified revolutionary technologies newly introduced to the market. Winners are selected by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine and will be recognized at an awards banquet in November in Orlando, Fla.  A list of winning innovations is on the R&D 100 Awards website.


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