Current Project List

Current Project List PDF

Current Project List PDF

Continuous manufacturing system for pharmaceutically useful proteins, and monitoring with a NeSSI system and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) Based Assays
Clement E. Furlong, Medical Genetics, UW

Project Summary:  Our focus this year will be to develop preliminary data and protocols for continuous recombinant protein production with an E. coli expression/secretion system using real-time monitoring of the reaction medium, purification stages, and resulting protein products. Using our portable SPR system the NeSSI (New Sampling and Sensor Initiative) system and other instrumentation, we will test the sampling and analysis from a continuous small-volume side stream from the reactor and at various points along the purification pathway. We will continue to refine the analyses for continuous production of important industrial/pharmaceutical proteins. The proposed research involves close collaborations with industry.


Vapochromic Detection and Identification of Important Analytes
Kent Mann, Department of Chemistry, U. of Minnesota, and Brian J. Marquardt, Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), UW     

Project Summary:  This project involves a collaborative effort between analytical chemist Dr. Brian Marquardt at the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) of the University of Washington and physical inorganic chemist Professor Kent Mann at the University of Minnesota to engineer novel and robust optical vapochromic sensor systems. The vapochromic compounds of interest are highly porous crystalline metal complexes with strong absorption and emission i.e. high quantum efficiency. In these sensing compounds, analyte molecules perturb the chromophore and induce reversible shifts and/or intensity changes in the emission/absorption spectrum of the chromophore. Thus, these vapochromic sensors are attractive as sensing elements for reversible, small, low power, fast, robust, and inexpensive optical sensors. This proposed work will continue to: 1) investigate the spectra of known and new compounds to specific analytes; 2) test the efficacy of mathematical modeling and calibration of sensors made from these various vapochromic compounds for qualitative sensing of desired chemical species in gas and dissolved phases; and 3) compare how our vapochromic oxygen sensor compares with the available industrial products.


Investigating the Use of LIBS as an Effective Process Analysis Tool
Brian J. Marquardt, Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), UW

Project Summary: The use of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has expanded beyond rapid qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis of a diverse array of solid samples, to now include the analysis of liquid phase samples. This presents an excellent opportunity for LIBS to advance as a new innovative Process Analytical Technology (PAT), where flow analysis is juxtaposed with atomic emission spectroscopic analysis techniques via focusing a high-power laser pulse into a flowing liquid, which creates a small plasma bubble region within the flowing liquid. A lens coupled to an optical fiber connected to a high-resolution spectrometer collects emission from atoms and ions in the plasma bubble suspended in the liquid. Currently, spectral lines identifying and quantifying individual elements present in liquid samples has been demonstrated for a static pressure cell samples, Figure 1. LIBS analysis of flowing liquid phase samples will expand autonomous methods available for process analysis and quality control since it requires no sample preparation and provides an enormous amount of analytical information.


Ultrafine Aerosol Sampling and Microfluidic Analysis with Fringing Electric Field Sensors        
Alexander Mamishev, Electrical Engineering, UW

Project Summary: This preliminary investigation focuses on the feasibility of using a low-cost microfluidic Electrostatic Particle Sampler (µF-EPS) that couples ultrafine aerosol collection to microfluidic assay, using a lightweight sampler to be combined with a fringing electric field sensor array for accurate measurements of particle concentration. Numerous industrial processes, such as painting, grinding, sanding, and powder drying, result in the generation of aerosols. Cardiovascular diseases and asthma affect between 14 and 15 million people in the United States; during the past 15 years, its incidence worldwide has doubled. Asthma is responsible for 100 million person-days of restricted activity and 5000 deaths per year, amounting to $8.1 billion in direct heath-related costs. Cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are suspected to be related to environmental exposures, but, as with asthma, there is uncertainty about the importance of specific causative agents. This proposal addresses the need for better personal exposure assessment, as well as better quantification and characterization of ultrafine particles in the environment.


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance for Process Analysis
Michael J. McCarthy, J.H. Walton, and Matt Augustine, University of California, Davis

Project Summary:  Our goal is to demonstrate the feasibility and applicability of NMR systems for process monitoring of reactions, fermentation monitoring, environmental sample analysis, composition analysis and physical property measurement. Specific objectives for the next year are 1) characterize rheology, enzyme diffusion, and mixing in biomass suspensions; 2) characterize a prototype NMR sensor to measure spoilage of foods in metal and metal lined containers 3) automation of in-line/on-line rheological measurements. We are focusing our efforts on two areas: development of NMR/MRI for measurement of high pressure processing and field trials of NMR to be used to analyze materials in metal.  Our goal is to demonstrate the feasibility and applicability of NMR systems for process monitoring and materials characterization.  Specific objectives for the next year are 1) field test a handheld single-sided NMR for analysis of materials in sealed containers; 2) development of NMR/MRI for measurements of material composition, phase behavior and changes during high pressure processing (range from 50 MPa to 1GPa).


Process Gas Chromatography and Chemometrics
Robert E. Synovec, Department of Chemistry, UW

Project Summary:  We propose to continue technology and software developments, with research investigations using gas chromatography (GC) as an important chemical analysis tool for monitoring, understanding, and controlling various processes. We have two major thrusts. First, we propose to develop GC instrumentation for process analysis applications using high-speed GC (GC “sensors”) and two-dimensional GC (GC x GC), using thermal modulation and/or high speed valve technology. Second, we propose to develop user friendly software for both on-line and discovery-based applications (using GC, GC x GC-FID and GC x GC-TOFMS). In this regard, we plan to continue our work on software and applications of GC x GC-TOFMS to important fields such as evaluation of chemical processing plant performance of unit operations, discovery-based metabolomics, food safety and food quality, traditional fuel and biomass/biofuel characterization. We also propose to develop robust on-line, real-time process GC to implement advances in hardware and software (alignment and chemometrics). The proposed work on alignment and automated interpretation with real-time decision making are both critical topics for the ongoing advancement and implementation of process GC. A key aspect of the proposed work is to minimize costs while enhancing the robustness and ease-of-use of GCs used to monitor processes.


Optimization of acetic acid production during conversion of hybrid poplar to jet fuel by using Raman Spectroscopy and development of advanced process control (APC) strategy
Renata Bura and Rick Gustafson, Forest Resources, and Brian J. Marquardt, APL, UW

Project Summary: The overarching goal of this project is to optimize acetic acid production during conversion of hybrid poplar to jet fuel by using Raman spectroscopy. The specific objective of this research is utilize Raman spectroscopy during fermentation of lignocellulosic sugars to acetic acid to optimize acetic acid titer and to expand fundamental understanding of limitations governing fermentation of sugars by M. thermoacetica process with the ultimate goal of overcome those limitations. Our approach to this is to develop methods to reduce the concentration of phenolic/fluorescent compounds in the sugar streams prior to fermentation by using carbon nanotubes.

Raman Spectroscopy for Process Analysis:  Advancing Analytical methodology, Data Processing, and Instrumentation
Brian J. Marquardt, Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), UW                                       

Project Summary:  The main goal of the proposed project is to address fundamental and practical challenges when using Raman spectroscopy to analyze homogeneous and heterogeneous samples for Process Analytical Technology (PAT). Recently we have demonstrated the applicability of Raman spectroscopy for monitoring sugar formation in complex highly fluorescent biomass mixtures using direct measurements with an immersion probe. However, several sampling challenges remain such as deconvolution of signals from the solid and liquid phases of the slurry and agitation difficulties of highly inhomogeneous samples. We propose to address these challenges by developing a continuous flow filtration system and optimize it for samples with high solid content. Another part of the proposed research is optimizing the optical interface to minimize attenuation of the Raman signal due to scattering. And finally, we propose to continue the development of various data analysis methods specific to Raman spectroscopy to ensure effective and reliable conversion of Raman data into relevant information about the sample.


Non-Destructive Evaluation of Multilayer Films with Micrometer Resolution, Using a Fast, Portable, and Low Cost Terahertz Spectrometer
Hassan Arbab, NYU Stonybrook and Dale Winebrenner, Applied Physics Laboratory, UW

Project Summary:  We propose to optimize and calibrate the new THz-TDP technology for NDE applications. In particular, spectroscopic algorithms will be develop to extract the index of the refraction of the samples from the same target, and calibrate the polarization change accordingly. More importantly, we will develop, implement and test electromagnetic polarimetry models for non-homogeneous and birefringence targets, which are often ubiquitous in industrial samples. Furthermore, we will work with CPAC member companies to design experiments relevant to their specific applications in order to test and quantify the figures of merit of the new THz-TDP instrument, including enhanced thickness measurement resolution, sensitivity, specificity, spectral resolution, and minimum detection thresholds. These evaluations will include both frequency-domain spectroscopy measurements for information on the chemical content, as well as time-domain polarization-dependent analysis of coating consistency, and identification of irregularities in NDE applications.


Wireless Sensors for Instrumentation, Processes, and Body-Worn Applications
Brian Otis, Electrical Engineering, UW

Project Summary:  Our research creates integrated circuit technology that enables new applications of wireless sensors. We design chips that enable new levels of system integration, functionality, and robustness. Future wireless smartphone interfaces, body area networks, industrial and home monitoring, and implantable devices demand wireless technology well beyond the state-of-the-art. These applications place increasingly severe demands on circuit and system designers. Miniaturization and power concerns, already important considerations in portable radio design, are amplified in these emerging wireless sensor applications. Additionally, there are several needs on the horizon that will demand completely thin-film integration of entire systems allowing deployment in previously impossible scenarios.