Zebra Analytix has selected Pittcon 2018 to introduce its new miniature gas chromatography (GC) systems, based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology exclusively licensed from Virginia Tech University. The patents-pending technology offers microfabricated chips capable of multi-channel separations. Advantages include vastly decreased instrument size, versatility, portability, and speed of results.
Gas chromatography is a technique used worldwide in analytical chemistry to separate and analyze volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are gases emitted from certain solids and liquids. GC is able to split chemical mixtures into their components and allows scientists to detect and identify VOCs in many substances including air, water, plant and animal tissues, and soil. GC is used in a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical industry, environmental monitoring, clinical chemistry, food processing, and petroleum distillation, among others. Many GC systems currently in use commercially are large, bulky, stationary, costly machines requiring that samples to be tested be brought to the machine.
The miniature gas chromatography platform offered by Zebra Analytix can be operated by non-experts to analyze volatile compounds within seconds.
This Mini-GC system, with its potential applications for wearable and portable detection devices, has drawn attention from the fields of health care, environmental monitoring, industrial, petrochemical and automotive applications, building automation, and homeland security, especially driven by global government regulations for safety.
Zebra Analytix was co-founded by VIC Technology Venture Development, together with Masoud Agah, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer of Zebra. Dr. Agah is the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium (VMEC) Professor of Engineering in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Upon joining Virginia Tech in 2005, he established its Microelectromechanical Systems Laboratory, the VT MEMS Lab, and has focused his research on environmental and biomedical applications of MEMS, receiving the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award in 2008 to support his research on micro gas chromatography. Dr. Agah has received numerous other awards and recognition for his research throughout his career, and is a core member of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.
Calvin Goforth, Ph.D., interim CEO of Zebra Analytix, notes that Zebra’s miniature GC platform has the same components of a standard GC system, in addition to complete sample preparation and capture on a chip-scale device. This opens up many new applications.
The article appeared, in part, in Pittcon Today, February 27, 2018