Portable Laser-Based Analyzer for Trace Metals in Jet Fuels

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force to develop a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) –based analyzer for trace metal content in aviation or ground fuels.

PSI’s sensor tool is intended for person-portable field use at fuel depots where a quick and easy analysis may be performed on a milliliter scale fuel sample. Currently, technicians must rely on sending fuel samples to laboratories for analysis by benchtop instruments. The process, including sample preparation for the instrument, can take several days. PSI will demonstrate the practicality of quick and quantitative metal concentration measurements in the field via automated evaporation and subsequent LIBS analysis. The instrument will combine affordable laser plasma generation, state-of-the-art miniature spectroscopic hardware, proven signal processing algorithms, and robust optical design.

This program will lead to the development of a novel, rugged, accurate, miniature, affordable and easy (automated), portable sensor for heavy metal content in fuels. Markets for such sensors exist across the military branches, but also in commercial aviation and ground transport. Further, markets for such sensors exist as either portable, in-line, or at-line instrumentation for chemical metal extraction processes (e.g. precious metals, rare earth metals) and metal catalyzed chemical processes (e.g. pharmaceutical ingredients).

For more information, contact:

Dr. Shin-Juh Chen
Group Leader, Industrial Sensors Group
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003