Austin, Texas-based 1st Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation, has announced that the United States Patent Office (“USPTO”) has approved issuance of a key patent for the company’s unique ion trap used for chemical analysis and detection.
“We are extremely pleased that the USPTO has allowed this patent. This patent is an important component of our intellectual property portfolio as it allows 1st Detect to enhance the performance of miniaturized mass spectrometers without an increase in size or cost,” says 1st Detect Chairman and CEO Thomas B Pickens III. “The patent clearly validates our technology, while both demonstrating and protecting the progress we have made in the development of the 1st Detect mass spectrometer.”
The company says the patent, entitled “A Mass Spectrometer Ion Trap Having Asymmetric End Cap Apertures”, published as USPTO No. 8,610,055, represents a key technological advantage for 1st Detect to improve the sensitivity and resolution of small mass spectrometers without increasing the complexity or cost of the instrument.
“The technology protected by this patent supports our objective to offer the most affordable, high performance small mass spectrometer for both laboratory and field applications,” comments David Rafferty, inventor of the novel technology and President and CTO of 1st Detect.
Mr. Rafferty, who leads technical development of the 1st Detect Miniature Chemical Detector, has 20 years of engineering experience in the Aerospace and Mass Spectrometry industries. Prior to SPACEHAB / 1st Detect, Mr. Rafferty led the electronics development of the Trace Gas Analyzer, a handheld mass spectrometer used by Space Station astronauts.
With the Mass Spectrometer Ion Trap, 1st Detect Corporation has developed an instrument that it claims will revolutionize the chemical detection and analysis market by delivering lab performance mass spectrometry in a small, affordable and easily portable package. They note that the 1st Detect mass spectrometer’s broad capabilities make it an ideal tool for a variety of applications in the research, security, industrial, process flow and healthcare markets; and is capable of detecting a wide variety of chemicals including residues and vapors from explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic chemicals, food and beverage contaminants, and pollution products.
1st Detect Corporation was formed by Astrotech Corporation to commercialize miniature mass spectrometer technology developed for the International Space Station (ISS). The company quickly realized the commercial utility of such a device and began parallel development of a terrestrial unit to be deployed in the security, healthcare, and industrial markets. Leveraging the parent company’s 25 year heritage of developing high performance, lightweight ruggedized systems for the space program, 1st Detect has been able to revolutionize the mass spectrometer industry by offering the same performance as laboratory instruments, but at a price and in a form factor similar to today’s handheld detectors. 1st Detect offers a breakthrough miniature mass spectrometer that fills an unmet need by being highly accurate, rapid, lightweight, and cost-effective. For more information on 1st Detect Corporation, visit:
Astrotech Corporation, formerly SPACEHAB, Inc., has served the commercial space industry for over 25 years, preparing and sending satellites, cargo, and science into space. It was one of the first space commerce companies and remains a strong entrepreneurial force in the aerospace industry. The company is among leaders in identifying, developing and marketing space technology for commercial use. Their Astrotech Space Operations business unit serves the U.S. government and commercial satellite and spacecraft customers with pre-launch services on the eastern and western range. 1st Detect Corporation has developed a breakthrough miniature mass spectrometer, while Astrogenetix, Inc. is a biotechnology company utilizing microgravity as a research platform for drug discovery and development.
Astrotech With the goal of facilitating the most demanding of projects, we offer the following capabilities:
• Satellite and spacecraft pre-launch processing
• Payload processing and integration
• Space hardware design and manufacturing
• Third party space access acquisition and integration
• Microgravity commercial drug development
• Space technology product commercialization for earth applications
• Government services
• Through Astrotech Space Operations, Astrogenetix, and 1st Detect, the Astrotech Corporation continues to help pave the way in the commercialization of space.
1st Detect Corporation
1st Detect Corporation