Thoughts on product innovation
iTeam Lent 2015 Gax

Who wants a pocket gas chromatograph?

This lent term I’m once again mentoring an i-Teams group (and eating plenty of pizza doing so). We’re looking at potential market applications for a small hand-held gas chromatograph (GC) with a thermal conductivity sensor.

The technology is the result of the research done by Dr. R. Vasant Kumar and Dr. Sohab Sarfraz of the department of Material Science and Metallurgy. The novelty of their thermal conductivity sensor—in itself a very well established sensor type—is that their version is insensitive to gas flow rate variations. This means there is no need to tightly control gas flow through the sensor, which simplifies the total system. The small size of the sensor (less than 1mm2) gives it a very fast response, and opens avenues for system miniaturisation. Kumar and Sarfraz also have plans to shrink the chromatography column to arrive at a handheld GC system.

The “mGC” team—from left Minsheng Ding, Apostolos Atsalakis, Joanna Starkie, Rhianna Knable, Adam Klimont, and Terence Kwan—gave their mid-term “work-in-progress” presentation yesterday, with the final presentation planned for Thursday March 19th. Both other i-Teams running this term will then also present their results. If you’re interested in attending this event, please contact i-Teams programme director Amy Weatherup. See for details.