Following a successful Phase I contract, LMT is proud to announce that it has been awarded a 2017 NASA SBIR Phase II contract for its work on the Fluorescence Lifetime Excitation Emission Spectrometer (FLEXEMS) instrument, a novel device for detecting and identifying trace organics in-situ.
In this Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) effort, LMT will continue to mature FLEXEMS, a stand-off fluorescence spectrometer that uses multiple light-emitting diodes to excite fluorescence in samples from the deep-ultraviolet through the visible and employs time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) and steady-state photon-counting techniques in order to detect and identify trace levels of organics in-situ. The addition of fluorescence lifetime measurements distinguishes it from other compact, field-portable instruments available. For typical use, the instrument will require no reagents or consumables and by simply placing the instrument on a sample of rock, soil, or ice, or other material it will be able to detect a wide range of organics (at or below the 10-100 ppb-level) including free aromatic amino acids; biomarkers including F420 (specific to methanogens), NADH, and proteins; PAHs; and porphyrins (e.g. chlorophyll). It will be designed with flight in mind so that mass, volume, and power-usage will be minimized as much as possible.